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Cullen Loon Becomes First Ever Cullen Skink World Champion in 2012 !!
The first ever Cullen Skink World Championship was held in Cullen on Sunday 22nd July 2012. Seven finalists had been chosen from more than 20 entries to compete in the finals at the Cullen Bay Hotel. The seven hopefuls had an hour to produce three 250ml portions of the soup for the judges. They had a broadly free hand when it came to their recipes; however, one stipulation rigorously adhered to was the requirement to use smoked haddock. The finalists were allowed to prepare raw ingredients in advance, but all cooking had to be conducted at the event itself under competition conditions.
The judging panel was the cream of local culinary expertise - made up of the Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire, Lady Clare Russell, cookery writer Diana Baxter of the famous soup-making family, and Louie Paterson from Cluny Fish at Buckie.
Congratulations go to Nigel Ross, originally from Cullen but now living in Aberdeen, who used an old family recipe to beat off the competition. His recipe came from his grandmother; the family reckon that the recipe is at least 100 years old. In addition, Nigel smokes his own fish - which is one of the keys to his success.
Congratulations also to the other six finalists for making it a great competition - Mary Addison, Fiona Forrest, Stuart Bonar, Paul Buxton, Gary Brown and Jamie Dawson.
To commemorate the day, Moray Distillery Glenglassaugh had teamed up with the Cullen Bay's head chef Paul Buxton and Louie Paterson of Cluny Fish to create the most expensive bowl of the famous soup - Cullen Skink featuring haddock fillets marinated in Glenglassaugh's Revival Malt. Louie Paterson marinated the haddock in Revival before smoking it in the 100-year-old kilns in his smokehouse at Cluny Fish, Buckie. Cullen Bay chef, Paul Buxton, then had the challenging task of finding just the right measure of whisky to complement his own recipe.
Also in line for praise was local firm, South Lissens Pottery, who handcrafted the soup bowls used in the competition.
Thanks must also go to local engraver Steve Thornton who whisked the trophy away and returned it bearing Nigel's name at the top of what is hoped to be a long list.