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Glenturret whisky distillery hires Michelin-starred chef

Mark Donald will launch the first fine-dining restaurant at a Scotch whisky distillery

Mark Donald, the Michelin-starred head chef at Edinburgh’s Number 1 at The Balmoral, is joining The Glenturret distillery in Perthshire to open the first fine-dining restaurant at a Scotch whisky distillery.

The Glenturret was bought in 2019 by Swiss entrepreneur Hansjörg Wyss and Silvio Denz, head of luxury goods firm Lalique Group. Lalique’s existing culinary investments include Villa René Lalique, the two-star Michelin restaurant and hotel in Alsace, and the one-star Michelin restaurant and hotel at Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey in Bordeaux.

Donald cut his culinary teeth at Stravaigin, a popular eatery in his home city of Glasgow, before undertaking a ‘formative’ season at Noma in Copenhagen. He spent two years at the two-star Michelin Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at The Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire before moving to London to work at the two-star Hibiscus.

After four years as head chef at the Bentley restaurant in Sydney, Donald returned to Scotland in 2018 to take over the kitchen at Number 1 at The Balmoral, where he retained its Michelin star.

Donald said: ‘The distillery has a long history and great heritage – as does Lalique – so it was an exciting task to combine this with fresh, innovative ideas.

‘Working closely with the local producers and suppliers has been wonderful so far; together with my team, I feel we have managed to create a contemporary, thought-provoking menu wrapped in the genuine Scottish hospitality for which The Glenturret is renowned.’

The Glenturret, Scotland’s oldest working distillery, was previously home to The Famous Grouse Experience, a visitor centre run by Edrington, the owner of single malts including Highland Park and The Macallan.

While Scotland’s distillery visitors’ centres attracted a record 2.16 million visitors in 2019, the industry’s restaurants are often seen as lagging behind those in major wine tourism areas, such as Bordeaux or Napa Valley.

The Glenturret Lalique Restaurant is due to launch early this summer, after its visitors’ centre reopens on 26 April.

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