Healthy Living - Rory Weymes, Head Chef, Alchemilla, Glasgow
I’m 27 years old and been working in kitchens since I was 15, started cleaning the pots and pans and realised that cooking was the thing for me. I worked in various small restaurants in Glasgow before I decided at 21 years old I wanted spread my wings and head overseas to Australia to experience what cooking was like on the other side of the world. That’s when I would say I became a real chef, experiencing new surroundings and loads of different restaurants learning various cuisines and skill sets. The whole experience was a huge learning curve for me, however the best decision I have ever made. When I eventually came home back to Glasgow after 2 years of working in a few high-end restaurants I decided I would save up for my next adventure.
I got myself a job Cail Bruich in Glasgow which was surreal at the time as I didn’t think I would be able to get a position there in such a small kitchen. I enjoyed it so much I stayed for 3 and half years leaving as the sous chef.
I was asked to take the head chef role at Alchemilla, this for me would be the first time I could do my own food staying within the “Mediterranean” theme which extremely exciting for me.
How are you feeling during this time, and what you are doing to stay positive?
Been trying to keep as busy as I can. I’ve been spending lots of time in the kitchen. Experimenting and being as creative as possible with such limited supplies. I think the main thing for me has been getting lots of exercise and appreciating time with my family.
Can you tell us your ideal meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
My ideal breakfast is always something with eggs, they're such a versatile ingredient. Can’t beat an omelette with whatever you have to use up in the fridge and of course with some hot sauce!
Favourite lunch has got to be a salad of any form, whether it be a classic Caesar salad with loads of Dijon mustard and good anchovies or an Asian style noodle salad with fresh ingredients, like mint, coriander and lime juice!
Favourite dinner got to be any form of curry, so many varieties from different countries that all have such different flavours and interesting ingredients. I would have to eat one every day if my girlfriend let me.
Do you have any simple yet great recipes you can share with us to cook at home?
Beetroot, radicchio, yoghurt, herbs & sumac
Such an easy tasty fresh clean plate of food. This will feed 2 - 4 people.
500g of beetroot (any colour you can get your hands on, I used red for this one)
300g of yoghurt (good quality full-fat yoghurt)
1 small radicchio (chicory would work as well)
1 clove of garlic
25g fresh parsley
25g fresh dill
Moscatel vinegar (any good quality sweet vinegar would work)
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Rock salt and black pepper
Pinch of sumac (will get from any Middle Eastern shop)
So start with putting your beetroots in salted boiling water (depending on beetroot sizes the times will vary but approx 45mins to 1 hour)
Place yoghurt in a mixing bowl and finely grate the garlic into it and season with salt.
Pick your radicchio down into leaves and place into the icy water. This process keeps the leaves crunchy and fresh but also cleans them. Once cleaned strain of the icy water and place into mixing bowl
Pick your dill and parsley down and refresh them in icy water. Once cleaned strain the off and put aside
Once the beetroots are ready, strain the water off and cool slightly before peeling (I would advise gloves as it’s a bit messy!) It’s important that the beetroots don’t cool down completely as they are a nightmare to peel. When there peeled cut them into your desired shapes and sizes. Then dress the beetroots with some EVOO, Moscatel vinegar, salt and black pepper.
Add the radicchio into the beetroots and dress them
Obviously you can plate it however you like but I start with the yoghurt on the plate, followed by the beetroots and radicchio. Your herbs on top then finish with a sprinkle of sumac and some olive oil.
Can you tell us one or two ingredients we should always have in our kitchen cupboards?
I have too many key ingredients!!!
One of my most important key ingredients in the kitchen is always good quality vinegars, they just lift any dish and add another depth of flavour. I use moscatel and Chardonnay vinegar a lot.
Another key ingredient would be good quality fish sauce. I use red boat fish sauce at home as I mainly eat Asian food. Majority of it is quick and fresh and full of flavour.