Sweet taste of success for Kyle’s Margaret at Cullen Skink World Championships

Margaret Macrae was named as the Cullen Skink and the Cullen Skink with a twist Champion.

The co-owner of a seafood bar in Kyle of Lochalsh made history this week by becoming the first person to become a double champion at the Cullen Skink World Championships.

Margaret Macrae, who along with her husband Murdo runs the Fisherman’s Kitchen seafood bar and takeaway, was last Sunday crowned Cullen Skink World Champion for the first time.

Margaret’s wizardry with the dish – which uses the principle ingredients of smoked fish, onions and potatoes – also saw her named as the ‘Cullen Skink with a twist’ champion during the competition held at Cullen Bay Hotel.

Speaking to the Free Press Margaret said: “In 2017, we won the twist competition, but this year we won both the original and ‘the twist’ and seemingly this is the first time it has happened.”

She added: “When we opened the shop – with it being a seafood shop – we knew we would have Cullen Skink on the menu. Before we opened, we tried a lot of different recipes and came up with our own and we make it every day.”

The competition had been held for the last seven years in the village which gives the famed dish its name.

Margaret said: “They only have room for nine or 10 people because of the size of the hotel, so you have to apply to enter and then you get placed on a shortlist – I believe they had quite an interest.”

She added: “For the original, you are only allowed so many ingredients – so it’s quite strict. For the twist, I boiled some langoustines and got the sweetness out of them in the cooking juice. It made it sweet and richer, but it still tasted like Cullen Skink.”

While Margaret didn’t wish to divulge too much about her winning recipe, she said: “It is all down to the smoked haddock – we all have our different suppliers and I think that’s what the difference is really.”

She added: “I posted the news online and we’ve had lots of lovely comments which has been nice. The original prize is what you are wanting and to get ‘the twist’ was great – but to get both is amazing!”

Article by Adam Gordon, image by Willie Urquhart.