Carnegie Club Blog
Posted: 22 August 2019
Home-grown and locally sourced ingredients are at the heart of the delicious dishes enjoyed by guests at The Carnegie Club. The club’s chefs work closely with the gardening team to ensure that as many of the ingredients as possible used in the kitchen are grown on the estate. Every few months the talented chefs create a new menu that showcases the best seasonal produce, and these dishes are then expertly paired with matching wines by the club’s F&B team. The club’s field-to-fork philosophy means that produce is picked by our gardeners in the morning, prepared by our chefs throughout the day and presented on our members’ plates at dinner.
Micro herbs grown in the estate’s historic glasshouses have an even shorter journey from harvest to plate – they are delivered to the kitchen still in their growing trays and picked by the chefs on a dish-by-dish basis.
Growing their own produce allows the club’s chefs to include ingredients in their dishes that are not usually easily available to them, such as Chinese artichokes. This delicacy has ribbed roots and a nutty flavour. It is hard to find in the UK, but the club’s pantry is kept supplied with our own home-grown tubers.
By planting a selection of varieties of the same crop – such as rhubarb – that ripen at different times through the season, the gardeners ensure that the chefs have access to a consistent supply of produce. Similarly, a rolling supply of salad crops is maintained with vegetables like lettuce planted on rotation.
The late spring and early summer saw a bumper harvest of asparagus and this made its way onto the menu in various forms: roasted with parmesan as a side dish, on the cold buffet with quails’ eggs and sauce gribiche, served with truffle and wild garlic as an accompaniment for smoked spatchcock chicken, or as an asparagus and goats cheese mousse with cheddar biscuit starter.
Pick any dish on the current menu at the club and you are likely to find at least one home-grown ingredient. From the glasshouses, tomatoes are hand-selected by the chefs for inclusion in dishes like roast tomato tartare with red pepper sorbet, olive biscuit and basil gel, or heritage tomato salad with organic sheep’s yogurt with melon and cucumber. Beetroot from the walled garden is currently being served on Saturday evenings as a sorbet to accompany our single malt and whisky cured salmon with fennel, rye bread and crème fraiche.
For those with a sweet tooth, desserts like gooseberry soufflé with ginger custard and ginger sorbet, chocolate, raspberry and mint pavé with burnt chocolate, and cranachan ripple bombe with oatmeal dentelle and whisky caramel, all include fruit grown in either the walled garden or kitchen garden. And as the estate blooms in the summer sun, the gardeners have been diligently harvesting edible flowers which are used to garnish desserts.
It’s not only the chefs who utilise the produce grown in the gardens, however. The club’s butlers garnish our signature G&T with cucamelons grown in the glasshouses. A little larger than a grape, cucamelons taste like a cross between a cucumber and lime and are perfect for adding a touch of summer zest to drinks.
While guests at the club are enjoying the home-grown taste of summer, the chefs are already turning their thoughts to the autumn (and menus) that will soon follow, when the gardeners will harvest crops like kale and sprouts, and the chefs will head out into Skibo’s 8,000-acre estate to forage for wild mushrooms.
Though the seasons may change, the field-to-fork philosophy at the club does not, and so members can look forward to – if not a taste of summer – a taste of Skibo each and every time they visit.
Find out more about the historic glasshouses at Skibo where the tomatoes and other hothouse fruit and vegetables are grown at Skibo’s Glorious Glasshouses (Restored)
The elegant swimming pool at Skibo was built for Andrew Carnegie in the early 1900s, and underwent a sensitive $4.2 million restoration in the 2000s. Today, a swim in this historic pool is one of The Carnegie Club’s most popular activities for members both young and old.
As 11 August marks 100 years since the death of Andrew Carnegie, we reflect on his legacy and reveal Andrew's last message to his wife Louise, recently discovered in the Skibo Castle records.