Borthwick Castle, one the UK’s most iconic exclusive hire destinations appoints former BBC MasterChef: The Professionals winner, Derek Johnstone as its Chef.
Embracing his new role at the privately-owned fifteenth-century Scottish keep, Johnstone brings a passion for quality and spectacle to the castle kitchens to ensure private hire guests enjoy the finest local and international cuisine in a remarkable setting, which has recently benefitted from a multi-million-pound transformation.
Johnstone rose to prominence in 2008, winning BBC MasterChef: The Professionals, after which he honed his skills in the Two Michelin-starred Le Gavroche in London under the tutelage of Michel Roux Jr. From here, Johnstone progressed to work under the world renowned Albert Roux – the first Chef in the UK to hold three Michelin stars – at Brasserie Roux, in the five-star Sofitel Hotel at Heathrow Terminal Five.
A passionate Scotsman, Johnstone was delighted to return north to assist Mr Roux with the opening of five-star Greywalls Hotel near Gullane, East Lothian which overlooks the famous Muirfield Golf Course, once host to the British Open. He moved in 2014 to focus on relaunching The Golf Inn, where, as Chef Proprietor, Johnstone transformed the 1830s-built country inn into a boutique restaurant-with-rooms, where the quality of Scottish produce and cooking was very much to the fore.
Now, Johnstone is set to bring his flair for creating sumptuous meals from locally sourced, seasonal produce to Borthwick Castle. His focus on the season, sustainability and provenance of each ingredient embodies what Borthwick Castle is known for – the quintessential Scottish castle experience representing the best of Scotland’s incredible natural larder. The menu reflects the changing of the season, across land and sea, from wild Borders venison to hand-selected North Berwick lobster.
General Manager of Borthwick Castle, Ewan Grant, said: “Fine dining at Borthwick Castle is bespoke to each private hire guest, meaning there is no set menu but rather a suggestion of signature dishes celebrating regional cuisine and fresh local produce. From a wholesome and hearty breakfast – with Scotland’s favourite staple, porridge, to a summer BBQ in our garden, elegant afternoon tea in The State Room or the extravagance of a seven-course tasting menu or an opulent medieval banquet in The Great Hall. Chef will ensure our guests enjoy memorable and mouth-watering menus befitting the majestic surroundings.”
Derek Johnstone said of his new position: “I am proud to head up the first kitchen team at Borthwick Castle since its extraordinary transformation. At the heart of everything we do is showcasing the depth and breadth of the finest Scottish flavours. I am looking forward to collaborating with our guests, whether a wedding party, family gathering or corporate retreat, to deliver truly memorable moments at the table.”
Grant added: “We are thrilled to welcome Derek into our expert team. His enthusiasm for Scottish heritage and cuisine is palpable and the perfect fit for our quintessentially Scottish keep, while his modern and ambitious approach reflects our high levels of hospitality. Derek’s strong relationships with local suppliers and expert knowledge of regional ingredients, as well as his inimitable take on classic Scottish recipes, adds yet another string to the Borthwick Castle bow.”
Borthwick Castle, believed to be the finest keep in Europe, offers a remarkable exclusive hire destination just 12 miles from Edinburgh. The historic fortress offers ten bedchambers in the keep and an additional two-bedroom cottage. Whilst the top floor Garrison is ideal for wedding celebrations, The State Room and The Great Hall both provide family gatherings and corporate events with deluxe surroundings.
Borthwick Castle – Where and how
Prices for exclusive private hire of Borthwick Castle start from £7,500 per night.
Address: North Middleton, Gorebridge EH23 4QY, UK
Tel: +44 1875 820514