Four restaurants in the Borders have been voted among the top 100 in Scotland, thanks to votes from the people that count – their customers.
And for Piotr Dziedzic, chef-patron at Lemon and Thyme in Horsemarket, Kelso, it’s even better than that.
Piotr, originally from Warsaw, Poland, spent several years honing his skills on cruise ships travelling all over the world.
He came to Scotland in 2005, when he began work at the Cross Keys Hotel in Kelso.
And, last March, his dream of opening his own restaurant came true.
He said: “I have always wanted to have my own restaurant, ever since I walked into my first kitchen.
“This award means so much to me as it comes from our customers who have voted ... I’m very proud of that.
“I have always tried to be a little different in what I cook. And I can do this by combining the best food available in Scotland with my international experience.”
Organiser Creative Oceanic staged a celebration of Scotland’s best restaurants at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow.
All the shortlisted establishments were there by merit, having been voted for by their customers online.
And at that ceremony, Piotr was told his restaurant was placed in the top 20, the only venue in the Borders to do so.
Ashley Wilkie, owner of the Capon Tree Town House restaurant in Jedburgh for the last four and a half years, spoke of her delight at making the top 100.
She said: “It’s a great achievement, as there are a lot of top restaurants in Scotland ... especially as in the Borders we are often overlooked.
Ashley, whose High Street establishment serves up fine dining based on traditional French cuisine, told us what she believes sets the Capon Tree apart.
She said: “We do have a large range of international spirits and cocktails and a fantastic wine list by our in-house sommelier.
“We were really chuffed for Piotr as well, as it’s his first award.
“Awards such as these are really nice to get as you put in a lot of hours, and it’s like a big pat on the back.”
The other two local restaurants in the top 100 were the Monte Cassino in Melrose and Carfraemill, near Lauder.