The Only Michelin-Starred Restaurant In Scotland Run By A Female Chef

Chef Lorna McNee wanted to be a photographer, yet sometimes, life has different plans. McNee worked in a local restaurant while studying at Scotland's Moray College. Instead of enrolling in photography classes, McNee found herself at a placement at London's Claridge's Hotel, under the watchful eye of Gordon Ramsay. Her experiences helped her fall in love with the culinary world, and by the time a professor brought her to experience fine dining for herself at Andrew Fairlie's restaurant inside The Gleneagles Hotel, she was hooked.

McNee asked Fairlie for a work placement, and, at the end of her agreement, took an official job. Her employment lasted 12 years, during which McNee's work ethic and dedication to the industry helped her move up culinary ladders and kitchen hierarchies to secure the coveted position of sous chef. Fairlie's Michelin-starred restaurant served as McNee's stage as she collected various recognitions for her work, including 2016 Game Chef of the Year, 2017 National Scottish Chef of the Year, and 2019 Champions of Champions in the televised Great British Menu cooking competition. In 2020, McNee left the restaurant to set out on her own and join the Glaswegian staple Cail Bruich.

Leading by example

Under McNee's guidance, Cail Bruich became the first Glaswegian restaurant to receive a Michelin star in 18 years. Today, Cail Bruich remains Scotland's only Michelin-starred restaurant to be run a female chef.

Cail Bruich, which means "to eat well" in Gaelic, offers just that: The opportunity for guests to experience carefully paired ingredients that have been plated with the utmost precision. Replacing the restaurant's a la carte menu with tasting menus, McNee's team presents dishes made from local and seasonal products. In an environment that is both tasteful and welcoming, guests enjoy handmade pasta sprinkled with wild mushrooms and seared duck accompanied by cherry preserves. The £140 tasting menu is always a surprise, and suggested wine pairings are meant to enhance each course. 

For those wanting a front-row seat to witness McNee at work, the chef's table at Cail Bruich offers a full display of the kitchen. The dishes served at the chef's table aren't available to those seated in main dining area, and guests of the chef's table are treated to special libations that have resulted from collaborations with Krug Champagne. "Cail bruich," indeed.