Crossbasket Castle chef tastes sweet victory

Hazelnut, wild blueberry and yuzu mousse
A Scottish chef is celebrating after earning the truly indulgent top prize of Chocolate Dessert of the Year at this year’s Chocolate Show in London.  
David Simak, pastry chef at the luxury hotel, Crossbasket Castle, near Glasgow, impressed judges with his delicate creation simply titled hazelnut, wild blueberry and yuzu mousse. He was praised for his finesse, complementary flavours and creative innovation.

Now on its fourth rendition, the Chocolate Show brings together top-tier chefs, chocolatiers and chocolate companies for what is hailed as the UK’s biggest celebration of chocolate. Organised by Salon du Chocolat, the show was held at London’s Olympia National Hall this month.  

Judged by a panel of acclaimed dessert connoisseurs including Chocolate Show founder François Jeantet, David triumphed over tough competition from the final nine, which included the Royal Opera House, who took second place, and The Salt Room, who took third.  

Speaking of his impressive new accolade, David said: “I’m extremely honoured to have been crowned the winner of the Chocolate Dessert of the Year competition. I am sincerely grateful for the recognition I have received for my work, especially as I was up against such tough competition.  

“Having the opportunity for your food to be sampled by some of the UK’s most well-respected judges is incredible. However, nothing can beat that moment when you are standing in a line with some of the most talented chefs in the UK and it’s you that is declared the winner.”  

A highly accomplished and passionate pastry chef, David honed his craft working as junior pastry sous chef at Gleneagles Hotel.  He soon progressed to head pastry chef at five-star establishments in Edinburgh and Ascot, before finding himself on the radar of renowned chefs and restaurateurs Albert and Michel Roux Jr.   

Proving his natural talent, David was invited to join the team at their second Albert and Michel Roux Jr culinary venture in Scotland, based at the five-star Crossbasket Castle in High Blantyre.  

Operated by luxury hotel management group Inverlochy Castle Management International (ICMI), Crossbasket Castle launched in April this year following a £9 million restoration by a local businessman and his wife, Steve Timoney and Alison Reid-Timoney.

Featuring the restaurant, nine bedrooms, including a four-storey bridal tower, and a new grand ballroom seating up to 250 people, it welcomes guests for lunch, dinner and afternoon tea bookings. It is also a sought after weddings and events venue.