A Fife student’s dream of becoming a top chef in her own restaurant has been given a boost with a coveted work place at one of the UK’s best restaurants.
Liga Sprutke, who is currently studying professional cookery SRUC Elmwood, was recently able to spend an action packed week at Shirley Spear’s Three Chimneys in Skye thanks to a bursary presented to her last year at the St Andrew’s Day Dinner in the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa.
She was able to use the £500 award from “Savour St Andrews” to help with the cost of travel and spending a week in the kitchen run by head chef Scott Davies at the multi-award winning restaurant with rooms. During her visit she spent much of her time under the guidance and supervision of sous chef Dom Byrne (main image).
Liga said that Vicki Munro, the programme leader for hospitality at SRUC Elmwood Campus, had made the first contact.
“Every day I worked in different areas of the kitchen. One day I worked on starters, others on main courses or desserts. I was doing all sorts of work and tried to help others as much as I could.
“They did not let me to do much common day-to-day jobs such as tidying up, chopping and peeling. Sous chef’s attitude was that I was there to learn new things and techniques, not to do their work.”
Among the new skills Liga learned was working with chocolate – making sweets, filling the moulds, the correct temperatures for melting and creating the right shine.
“I also learned how chefs can make tasty and attractive dishes using just one expensive ingredient. Other ingredients can be cheap, but if you can combine them in the right way, the result is unbelievably tasty.
Another thing the sous chef has taught me is if we prepare any dish from a whole animal, we can and we need to need to use all edible parts and not waste any of it.”
Liga said that she can understand why the Three Chimneys is one of the best in the country.
“Everything was perfectly organized, and food delivered to customers and service itself was top quality. Sous chef Dom was really experienced, clever and inspirational.”
Liga is currently working towards an HND in Professional Cookery at Elmwood, and her long term target and “big dream” is to open her own restaurant. She wants to be able to show all the knowledge and experience she has gained in college, in work placements in Three Chimneys and in Fife’s Michelin starred Peat Inn, and through work in Scotland and her home country of Latvia.
Liga moved to Cupar three years ago with her husband and three children, and her studies build on four years cookery experience she gained in her home country.
Money is raised for bursaries for students at SRUC Elmwood and Fife College thanks to a unique partnership of chefs and businesses who work under the Savour St Andrews banner in events leading up to St Andrew’s Day.
The Three Chimneys head chef Scott Davies said that his kitchen doors are always open for young people with the motivation to begin a career in the business.
“Liga seemed to really enjoy her time with us and learn many of the basic techniques. It was a pleasure for our sous chef Dominic to see her flourish and build her professional confidence while on Skye.
“I hope the St Andrew’s Day Dinner is another great success this year!” said Scott.
The images below show Liga at work at the dinner, receiving her Savour St Andrews bursary from executive chef Martin Hollis at the Old Course Hotel, and some of the dishes she worked on at The Three Chimneys