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Chef of the Year Award winner, Fred Berkmiller
The Catering Scotland Excellence (CIS) Awards 2019, the country’s most prestigious annual competition for the hospitality industry, has revealed the winners.

The first award for hospitality excellence created in honour of legendary Scottish chef Andrew Fairlie was won by Dumfries House, the 18th-Century Ayrshire country mansion and estate rescued and redeveloped by Prince Charles.

The Chef of the Year Award went to Fred Berkmiller, Chef-Proprietor of the L’Escargot Bleu and L’Escargot Blanc restaurants in Edinburgh. It was a case of third time lucky as he was a finalist in the category in 2016 and 2018. Judges described him as “driven by excellence and tradition, and passionate about the provenance and sourcing of local and sustainable ingredients.”

Restaurant of the Year was Stefano Pieraccini’s Seafood Ristorante overlooking St. Andrews Bay. The judges praised the “quality and delivery of a superbly cooked local menu” and said Head Chef Davey Aspin’s team “worked as one cohesive unit to deliver a true fine dining experience.”

Glenapp Castle at Ballantrae in South Ayrshire was named best Independent Hotel. Transformed from a Victorian ruin by the Stranraer-based McMillan family, the 17-bedroom Glenapp is now owned by London financier Paul Szkiler and is about to launch a safari boat service to take guests to the Hebridean islands. Group Hotel of the Year was won by the Glasgow Hilton.

Other major prizes included those for establishments in the Hebrides, locations of the winners of last year’s Restaurant and Group Hotel of the Year.

Edinbane, the 16th-Century lodge restaurant at the head of Loch Greshornish on Skye, won Restaurant Newcomer, while Young Chef of the Year went to Jordan Clark of the six-bedroom Pennygate Lodge near Craignure ferry pier on the Isle of Mull.

Lord of the Isles, at Craobh Haven on the Craignish peninsula between Oban and Lochgilphead, took the Pub Excellence Award.