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At the chef's table: Derek Johnstone in East Lothian

East Lothian is a gastronomic gold mine. Chef Derek Johnstone shares his love for the Scottish region

By Derek Johnstone
photographs by Belhaven Smokehouse
Published 9 Apr 2019, 00:14 BST
Salmon, Belhaven Smokehouse, Scotland
Salmon, Belhaven Smokehouse, Scotland
Photograph by Belhaven Smokehouse

Our region really is blessed when it comes to its beautiful and sustainable produce. Whether it’s fresh vegetables or amazing smoked fish, what’s available is plentiful and of the highest quality. I chose to live here as it gives me the opportunity to get to know my suppliers, allowing me to work closely with them and their produce.

Where to eat

The Lobster Shack: The grilled half lobster here is quite possibly the freshest, most affordable lobster I’ve tasted. It’s best enjoyed with a chilled beer, while looking out over North Berwick Harbour.

La PotinièreI love this homely, family-run place in the village of Gullane, where most ingredients come from the restaurant’s garden and are served as part of a perfectly crafted set menu.

Ducks InnMy friend John Paul McLachlan has worked with some of the UK’s best chefs, and now he’s cooking at the Ducks Inn in Aberlady. I can often be found there in summer sitting in the garden before dinner.

The ingredients

Smoked fish: I use Belhaven Smokehouse’s superb smoked salmon and trout all the time. They only use fish from the most reliable of sources.

Rapeseed oil: At Stevenson Mains Farm, they cold press their Black & Gold rapeseed oil to preserve its peppery flavour and numerous health benefits.

Cider: Thistly Cross Cider has a delicious flavour with a crisp taste. It’s been produced in Dunbar since 2008 and is now one of Scotland’s favourites.

Sea buckthorn: We forage these brightly coloured orange berries at Gullane Beach. They’re tiny, but contain more vitamin C than an orange and can be whizzed into smoothies and sorbets for a local twist

Derek Johnstone is head chef at Borthwick Castle and a former winner of MasterChef: The Professionals.

Published in the May 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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