Marie Middleton works for Aramark Defence Services as acting Head Chef at Kinloss Barracks in Scotland where she runs the Junior Ranks Mess, catering three meals a day and occasional functions. Encouraged by her mentor, Regional Executive Chef, Peter Thompson, Marie entered the first ever Side by Side Chef of the Year competition. She beat several other short listed chefs to win the Scotland and Northern Ireland regional final before going on to take part in the ADS national final at Nestlé’s Head Quarters in Gatwick on November 15th 2018.
Marie was proud to draw on her ancient Doric roots for her Chef of the Year final main course: pan seared pigeon breast on a bed of wilted spinach, roast garlic and pine nuts served with roasted golden beetroot in a thyme, black garlic and blackberry reduction. “In North Scotland,“ Marie explains, “food could be scarce during hard winters for the Doric folks. Pigeon was a “free” meal for many Doric farmers and blackberries grew on hedgerows, fresh for the picking.”
Marie made a delicious lemon syllabub with lemon curd, served with raspberry and basil caviar and a ginger tuile of which she said, “the dessert’s tartness perfectly complements the richness of the main course.” The judges certainly agreed, being heard to say that Marie’s was the dessert of the day!
Marie has had a varied career before coming to work at Kinloss Barracks and as well as being a tutor, she has worked as a chef for hotels, golf clubs and nursing homes. “ I love passing on my skills and experience and training aspiring young chefs, “ says Marie. “My proudest moment was training a young chef who then went on to work at the Gleneagles hotel! I still remember my very first catering manager, Mrs Newton and how much inspiration she gave me.”
Mark Webber, ADS’s Culinary Director says, “ We want Aramark Defence Services to be famous for its food within the defence sector. Establishing competitions like this is a key part of developing and nurturing our own talent from within the company. Having someone like Marie on the team who is not only a talented and experienced chef but also believes in the importance of inspiring the next generation of chefs coming through, is invaluable. We are delighted she decided to take part in what will be the first of many such competitions.”