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Cullen Skink World Championships


Ian Watson and Alex Grahame emerged the winners at the 4th Cullen Skink World Championships, beating off the strongest field of contestants yet.
Simon Tucker, Vice-Chair of the Cullen Voluntary Tourist Initiative, commented:-   “The 4th Cullen Skink World Championships have proven to be the best yet.  We had the biggest and strongest field of entrants; the coverage we enjoyed in the press and on the radio in the run-up to the Championships was incredible; and we are so grateful to all those who supported us both before and during the competition.  Even the inclement weather immediately before the event did not succeed in putting a spanner in the works; and on the day, spectators and contestants alike were able to enjoy stunning views of Cullen Bay in sunshine.” 
Ian Watson of the Cullen Bay Hotel beat all contenders to lift the Traditional Cullen Skink World Championship, adding this to his With A Twist victory in 2014.  This year, Alex Grahame of Hornblower’s Seafood Restaurant, Gourdon, managed to wrest the With a Twist title away from him, with his Bon Accord Cullen Skink recipe. 
The judges - Louie Paterson of Cluny Fish Buckie, Alistair Fowlie of Moray College and Scott Armstrong of VisitScotland - certainly had their work cut out and faced a very difficult task in choosing the winners.  Tension rose for the Traditional Cullen Skink decision, with the judges spending an hour tasting and retasting the 10 entries – with a number of criteria to judge – consistency, colour, flavour, texture, aroma and presentation.  No easy task.  With no benchmark for comparison, the 5 entries for the With a Twist competition proved just as difficult – with all 5 producing their very own versions of the classic dish.  The judges commented after the event that they were hugely impressed with the quality of all the dishes – presenting traditional Scottish food at its very best.

Simon Tucker added:  "We have to thank so many people for ensuring that yet again the World Championships were a success – Cullen Bay Hotel for hosting the event in such a stunning location; the press for supporting us so well in their coverage of the event; Mountain Warehouse for rescuing us from a very tricky situation when some of the cookers were damaged in delivery; Johnstons of Elgin for donating a Merino Wool Throw which raised valuable funds for the Cullen Voluntary Tourist Initiative; the spectators who came to encourage and taste the dishes; and of course, all the contestants who invested so much in time, endeavour and imagination to make this the best championships yet.”
The 5th Cullen Skink World Championships will take place on Sunday 20th November 2016, with a closing date for entries of Saturday 15th October 2016.
Further details will be available in due course.
For further information, please contact Zillah Jamieson, Chair, Cullen Voluntary Tourist Initiative on 01542 840314; visit@discovercullen.com

2014 Traditional Cullen Skink World Championship - Winning Recipe

Makes 3 hearty or 4 generous portions
Medium onion very finely diced (I lost a bit of fingernail during the competition, THAT fine)
250g Duke of York potatoes from Stuart Morris at Balgersho, diced to 1cm
25g unsalted Scottish butter
10ml Stark’s rapeseed oil
Salt and pepper
300ml water from your favourite well
250g undyed smoked haddock from the lovely wee fish shop in Lady Wynd, Cupar (make the effort, you do want to win!)
500ml full fat gold top milk from Graham’s
Chiffonade of parsley and chives
Lay the fish in a wide enough pan for it to lie flat, cover with the milk and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and leave to rest for five minutes.
Tip the onion, butter, oil, salt and pepper into a large pan and fry gently until the onion is transparent. You are smart enough to know that if the onion colours it will become bitter and you will have to start again. Tip in the potato and fry for another few moments. Crank up the heat and add the water, lift the fish from the milk and pour it in. Ease down to a gentle simmer (the soup, not you).
Break the fish into large chunks, removing any skin or bones.
Chop some parsley and chives until you can’t bear to chop any more, that is a chiffonade.
*Tricky bit klaxon*
Not that tricky, really. Take a couple of ladles of the soup and pound in a mortar and pestle until smooth, then tip back in. You now have a thick soup that still has chunks in it.  Aren’t you clever!
Slide the fish back into the soup, warm through gently then serve with a sprinkle of chiffonade on top and crusty home made bread on the side. You DO make your own bread, don’t you!
Neal Robertson, World Cullen Skink Champion 2014, www.thesponco.com

Contact Details

Zillah Jamieson,
11 Seafield Place,
AB56 4TE

01542 840314;
Click to Email


This project was part-financed by the scottish goverment and the european community moray leader 2007-2015 programme.