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Scholarship launched in honour of late chef Fairlie

The Fairlie Scholarship has been launched by HIT Scotland in honour of Gleneagles chef Andrew Fairlie, who died in January.

The chef scholarship was launched at the HIT Talent Conference 2019, and the industry charity said it had “been in the planning for some time” as Fairlie was “closely associated” with the organisation.

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Sponsored jointly by HIT Scotland, the Scottish Government and Gleneagles, the Fairlie Scholarship will be awarded annually to a male and female chef.

As the first, and youngest, recipient of a Roux scholarship in 1984, Fairlie was said to have “recognised the life changing opportunity such an award will provide”. It is hoped that the Fairlie Scholarship will complement the Roux scholarship protocols with a Scotland focus.

In December 2018, Andrew Fairlie was quoted saying: “I know from first hand experience how valuable this type of development can be for all aspiring chefs. I am particularly excited by the fact that this opportunity will allow a male and female chef to experience a world class scholarship which will enhance their all-round culinary knowledge. I hope that this will inspire the next generation of Scottish talent with the ongoing support of Gleneagles and HIT Scotland.”

Michelin star chef Tom Kerridge and other UK stars will be involved in the judging process for this prestigious scholarship, alongside Masterchef winner and National Chef of Scotland, Gary McLean. The panel of judges will also include Stephen McLaughlin, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie head chef, Gleneagles’ general manager Conor O’Leary, HIT Scotland chief executive David Cochrane and representation from the Scottish government.

Fairlie was diagnosed with a brain tumour in in 2005. He continued to work at the Gleneagles before stepping down in November last year when he was told there was no more treatment available.

David Cochrane, chief executive of HIT Scotland, said: “In a world where honesty, integrity and sheer hard work to achieve success are not always apparent, Andrew Fairlie summed up these qualities in abundance and influenced many chefs locally, nationally and internationally.

“What will make the Fairlie Scholarship so unique to Scotland is the fact that it will be awarded annually to two chefs in Scotland – one male and one female. This reflects the huge amount of work that Andrew has championed over the years to ensure gender equality in his kitchen and the industry at large.

“We are hugely appreciative to Andrew Fairlie for paving the way for aspiring chefs to work in inclusive and diverse kitchens and believe the Fairlie Scholarship will provide a huge opportunity for future talent in our industry in Scotland.”

Gleneagles and Ennismore’s CEO, Sharan Pasricha, added: “Andrew Fairlie was a treasured part of our Gleneagles family, whose remarkable talents, passion for excellence and unwavering efforts to nurture the talents of others inspired the wider team every day. Through our co-sponsorship of this scholarship alongside the Scottish government, we’re proud to ensure the flame that Andrew established continues to burn as we support and celebrate the next generation of world-class chefs in Scotland.”

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