Orkney's MSP to serve up his Master Chef manifesto!

September 3rd 2019

We're excited to announce the next contestant for Orkney Food & Drink's Orkney Celebrity Master Chef competition.

Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, will be swapping Holyrood for the heat of the kitchen at the event, to be held at the Orkney Theatre on October 2. 

Liam is well used to working under pressure, having represented Orkney in the Scottish Parliament since 2007, but his culinary skills will be well and truly under the microscope on the night. He'll be facing off against three other well-known local faces for the Orkney Master Chef title, with the judges and live audience all ready to cast their votes.

Even with a busy schedule, Liam has been putting in the practice in his own kitchen in Burray, making sure to include some of Orkney's excellent food and drink products in his creations.

We've been hearing more about his preparations ahead of the event.

What’s your Master Chef menu? I’m still not sure what I will be cooking, but the intention is to ‘keep it simple’ and make the most of Orkney’s fine, local ingredients.

Why did you decide to enter? It would be unfair to characterise this as my decision to enter the event, rather than the result of Edgar Balfour’s powers of persuasion. In truth, I just wasn’t quick enough in thinking up a credible reason to say ‘no’!

How are you preparing for it? My preparations are based largely around a carefully crafted regime of getting steadily more nervous. At some stage, however, this will need to give way to actually trying to cook or prepare whatever dishes I choose for my menu.

How experienced in the kitchen are you? I know where it is in the house and more than hold my end up when it comes to washing dishes. In terms of cooking or preparing meals, my repertoire is shamefully limited (much like my diet).

What’s your all-time favourite dish to make? While I can muster up a passable chilli con carne or spaghetti bolognaise, coq au vin is probably my favourite ‘creation’. That said, it doesn’t get unveiled all that often these days. When I’m in Edinburgh during the week, while I rarely order takeaways, I am very guilty of opting for easy-to-throw-together meals. I know I should make more of an effort, but sadly there always seems to be a reason or excuse not to do so.

Any favourite ingredients to work with? Not really, though it would have to be meat-related.

What’s your guilty pleasure, food and drink-wise? I have a pretty sweet tooth, but I’ve found that sticking red wine in dishes can be habit-forming.

Any kitchen disasters over the years? Too many to mention and potentially one round the next corner every time I venture into the kitchen and put on an apron.

What’s your secret kitchen talent? She’s called Tamsin - and she’s very good indeed.


Orkney Celebrity Master Chef 2019, sponsored by NorthLink Ferries and Jewson, will be held in the Orkney Theatre on October 2. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased from any of the three Argo's outlets in Stromness and Kirkwall. Tickets are £10 each, which includes a glass of wine, and are individually numbered, so remember to book early. You can also reserve tickets by emailing orkneyfood@outlook.com or calling 01856 761 430.

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