Chef Watch featuring Darin Campbell of Cromlix, by Dunblane

Chef Watch

Darin Campbell

Head Chef, Cromlix, by Dunblane

How long have you been a chef?

I’ve been a chef for nearly 30 years. I started out working in a small local hotel in my home town of Largs. I realised I had a passion and talent for cooking so I moved to Edinburgh and that’s when I properly started my career as a chef, working for Jean-Michel Gauffre at the five star Sheraton Grand Hotel.

Why did you become a chef?

I grew up on a farm and think that’s where my love of food stemmed from – we had wonderful beef and lamb, and I used to drink the double cream from the top of the milk. I took it all for granted at the time, but I think it sparked a love of good, honest food and fresh, seasonal produce. We are very lucky here in Scotland that we have so much excellent produce here on our doorstep.

Favourite ingredient

It really changes season by season. I forage for ingredients in the woodland at Cromlix and love finding things we can include in our dishes at the hotel. Right now, I’m including wild garlic and sweet cicely which I have been picking on the estate.

Favourite or signature dish

We are just about to introduce a new menu at Cromlix and one of my favourite dishes on there is a St Brides spring chicken with white asparagus and Scottish truffle – it’s luxurious and light at the same time. Absolutely delicious.

Favourite kitchen tool or equipment (apart from sharp knives)

That’s a tricky question – probably my Thermomixer which is just a hard working piece of equipment, or the Bradley smoker.

Food hero(es)

Definitely Andrew Fairlie. I worked under him for a number of years at One Devonshire Gardens and then again at Gleneagles. He was a huge influence over me and I owe him so much for all the help and advice he passed on.

Any food you can’t/won’t eat

I’m not a big fan of kidneys – I love liver, but I just can’t get my head around kidneys.

 Comfort food/guilty secret

My wife Kirstie is a great baker, so it would have to be her lemon drizzle cake or banana bread which is great with a bit of butter. It goes very quickly in my house – the three boys love it too and even our Labrador will try to sneak a bite.

If I’m going out to eat, and I can’t get a table at your place, where should I go?

Well I’d definitely say you should try to book at Cromlix on another night, but if you really can’t get a table, Nicks at Port of Menteith is great or The Glenturret Lalique.

Stupidest customer or kitchen experience

Putting the Bradley smoker in a room while it was still smoking and setting the fire alarms off at the hotel!

Darin Campbell is Executive Head Chef at Cromlix. He won the Chef of The Year award at the Scottish Excellence Awards 2024.

He launches the new spring menu at The Glasshouse restaurant on 2 May. For more information please visit










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