Craig Millar, Owner Chef @ 16 West End, St Monans, Fife kindly agreed to have an interview by email to give a small insight into his cooking inspirations and family lockdown time
Who taught you to cook?
My lecturer at college was a guy called Walter McCrindle who I learned a lot of the basics with. There have been quite a few chefs over the years that I’ve learnt from and still am which is the wonderful thing about this industry as you are always learning.
When did you know you wanted to be a chef and what was your first job?
From the age of about 10 I started baking black Forrest gateaux’s for my parent’s friends, when I got to high school I had to decide after 1st year whether to take metal/woodwork or home economics and I went with the latter, unfortunately I also had to do fabric and fashion for a couple of years alongside food and nutrition!
My first job while at college was working as a commis chef in a place called Wigmores wine bar in Broughty Ferry. On finishing college I started working for Crest Hotels in Buckinghamshire.
What is the one ingredient you can’t live without?
A very close call between butter and salt.
How important are small local suppliers to the menu at @16West End?
Very important more so now. I have 2 local fish suppliers I also have a lobster/crab guy a scallop guy and a langoustine guy. Just before lockdown, I was about to start with local vegetable growers that are based 5 mins from the restaurant.
What is the best part of your job?
Every day is different, I still get excited receiving the mornings fish deliveries. The more you put into your work the more you get out of it.
With lockdown affecting everybody do you cook at home with your children?
I, fortunately, live above the restaurant so I can take the kids to work in the ‘big’ kitchen and keep them out of mums hair for a few hours making bread and soup for the neighbours.
Is there a favourite lockdown dish?
A very simple dish we’ve had a few times, one of my fish suppliers has opened a shop in the village so I got some beautiful hake from him simply pan-fried in lots of butter with garlic, spring onion and lemon juice served with mashed potatoes, asparagus and an onion and panko crumb.
What superhero would you like to be?!!
Definitely Thor God of Thunder as he drinks lots of beer and chucks a hammer about!
To book a table https://www.16westend.com/home