Sun, seafood and smiles make the perfect recipe for chef Mike

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Setting up a pop-up seafood restaurant on Tarbert quay, right in front of the boats which caught the fish, may have been a first for Scotland, but this year it was the newest addition to the village’s annual seafood festival.

The brainchild of chef Mike Leslie of the Coachman Inn in Kilsyth, the seafood barbecue was offered on Seafood Festival Sunday, which is traditionally turned over to live music with Beer on the Pier.

Mike is no stranger to the festival as he has been running the popular Saturday seafood demonstrations and exciting cook off with local chefs for a number of years. And his Tarbert roots run deeper, he was the head chef in Stonefield Castle in 1984 where he met his wife Irene, whose family still live in the village.

Together with his son Ryan and Ross Payne from the Anchor Hotel the chefs settled in for an afternoon of cooking the finest seafood for the 70 seafood lovers who had booked their tables though the festival’s Facebook page.

No one was left hungry as food started to arrive on tables and by the end of the afternoon there nothing left to cook and the chefs could have a welcome break.

While the sunshine certainly added to the enjoyment of this new seafood experience Mike was delighted with the lunch service, saying: ‘It’s been a fantastic day, everyone enjoyed themselves and most of all we’ve raised over £1000 for the festival. We were incredibly grateful to get all, or most of the fish donated, which allowed us to give all the profits to the festival. I’d also like to thank Seafood Scotland who helped with the funding of our equipment.

‘Cooking in front of the boats which caught the fish was pretty spectacular. Next year we’ll do it again, I’ve got a couple of things up my sleeve so look out for something even more special.’