MARMIONS chef de partie Shaun Fagan will give a fig for this year’s Borders Junior Chef Challenge.
In fact, roasted fig, grilled aubergine and courgette salad with a lavender and honey dressing, to be precise. For that’s the tastebud-tingling starter he will serve up to competition judges during the coming weeks.
The 23-year-old said: “I’m a creative person and I find an outlet for that through food and presentation, and coming up with recipe ideas.”
From Newtown St Boswells, Shaun started working in Marmions Brasserie’s kitchen in Melrose when he was just 14.
“I started off washing dishes and have learned through experience,” said Mr Fagan.
He left aged 18 to study sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art and returned to Marmions 18 months ago after a few months cooking at the King’s Hotel in Melrose.
The sculptor is currently undertaking his level 3 SVQ professional cookery training and says learning by experience and training at work is good: “It’s one of the best ways to learn, definitely.”
Continuing with his competition menu, Mr Fagan will offer judges a main course of spinach and quail’s egg ravioli with mushroom fricasse and a white wine reduction, followed by spiced red wine poached pears with vanilla ice-cream.
Winning the competition would be ‘great’ he says.
“It would be such a boost. I haven’t really had the opportunity to do my own menu and to win the competition would be just amazing.”
Asked how he sees his future, Mr Fagan said: “I like working in the kitchen, but I’ve also got my sculpture. Cooking is something I’m always going to do because it’s such a great thing: I would like to do both – it’s a juggling act.”
He continues to sculpt in his free time.