In The Spotlight:
Head Chef David Graham

Overseeing the incredible culinary delights on offer at the iconic Lews Castle by Natural Retreats, Head Chef David Graham is a gastronomic wonder, expertly blending contemporary cooking techniques with outstanding local ingredients. Having recently designed an exclusive tasting menu for the Monaco Whisky Festival with HSH The Prince of Monaco in attendance, we spoke to David to find out a little more about his background and his recommendations on the best the Outer Hebrides has to offer.

You recently designed an exclusive menu for the Monaco Whisky Festival, can you tell us your personal highlights (and stressful moments) of this prestigious event? Did you meet HSH the Prince himself?

Yes I have met HSH on a number off occasions both in Scotland and in Monaco, he is a lovely gentle kind man. This year I designed the menu for the Monaco Whisky Festival which was attended by HSH Prince Albert. It was based on 5 different Glenrothes expressions. Unfortunately this year I could not attend in person as I have been busy working hard at the launch of Lews Castle. The menu and recipes were all compiled here and sent on to be prepared by Joel Robochon and the Palace Chef Christian Garcia. All the food was sourced in Scotland and flown direct to Nice and on to Monaco, the logistics and planning were extremely complicated.

The previous year I did 2 functions for the festival - the first was a private function for HSH Prince Albert for 25 guests in the lovely splendour of the Palace, this was all his closest aids and friends including David Coulhart. The second function was for 250 guests in the Hotel Hermitage, this was an amazing event that went very well indeed. This was sponsored by Glenmorangie using several expressions. I was lucky to have the chefs from the Hotel de Paris to assist and Chef Michael Smith of Three Chimney fame and great British Menu. He acted as interpreter and guide as he had done it the previous year and is fluent in French.

Are you allowed to divulge any of the sumptuous menus that were on offer at the Monaco Whisky Festival?

I can exclusively share the Monaco Whisky Festival 2016 Tasting Menu here, where I catered for 250 guests in the Hotel Hermitage.

What is your favourite ingredient, either locally sourced or something slightly more unusual, to cook with at Lews Castle?

My favourite ingredient to work with is lamb, especially the local lamb here on the Island as the meat is so favourable. It is so versatile and can be cooked in so many and interesting ways, I tend to showcase as many parts of the lamb as possible from the sweetbreads, neck, loin to leg. And of course garnished with whatever is in season at the time. We also love to use the wonderful array of seafood we have available right down at the quay 5 minutes away, I get a daily call telling us what has been landed that day.

Stornoway is famous for its delicious black pudding – if you had to advise our readers on what other ingredients to pair it with, what would you choose?

Stornoway is of course famous for its black pudding, or as we call it in Gaelic Marag Dhubh (it has world PGI status). It is very versatile and can be paired with many different meats and also fish. I, on occasions, stuff chicken breasts with it and wrap them in bacon and serve with a whisky sauce - this is a very easy dish to replicate. It also works very well with pork. My favourite way of serving the black pudding however is with an apple puree, baton apple, fresh crispy salad leaves, and lovely fresh hand-dived scallops.

Looking back at your career, do you have any unforgettable culinary moments that you’d be happy to share with us?

Looking back at my career I have enjoyed my times mostly, I spent many years on cruise ships which I enjoyed and have been lucky enough to have seen the world. I also spent time in Asia visiting several countries, India, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Japan and Taiwan. Again, this was pairing food and Whisky and was an amazing opportunity to showcase the great Scottish larder further afield.

If you had to describe your culinary style in three words, which would you choose?

I would class my food style as clean, modern and fresh.

From freshly-cut sandwiches packed with delicious local produce, to our mouth-watering 'Scotsman's Platter' brimming with iconic Scottish cheeses from across the country, The Storehouse at Lews Castle is the perfect spot for an indulgent breakfast or lunch with loved ones. It even boasts it's very own 'Castle Lunch Box' and mini menu for young explorers who are eager to get a slice of the action.

To find out more about holding a private event in the spectacular Lews Castle, call our Events Specialist on 01625 416424 or e-mail [email protected]. Alternatively, view our Corporate Events Brochure or our Wedding Brochure.