This Life: John Ramsay

Kim Ramsay has her own private chef. Dinner, which goes from fridge to table in 30 minutes, might be a soupy Malaysian curry or a zingy stir-fry. After a long shift at Dunkeld Primary School, the smell of lemon grass and galangal is pretty good to come home to.
Not many head teachers in rural Perthshire open the door to a South Asian feast of a Tuesday night. But Kim, who is Australian, had the foresight to marry John Ramsay. He was a hotel chef when they met. It was her brilliant idea to get him out off the shift rota and into private kitchens.
It was the start of the 1990s. John, who grew up in Carnoustie, had already prepped veg across the US and Australia. Having decided he wanted to make cheffing his career, he’d headed homewards in search of a proper job. “I was applying for jobs where I would be working under a good chef. The Killiecrankie Hotel had two AA Rosettes, which was well above the average back then, before we had any of the highly awarded restaurants that you find in Scotland nowadays. I started off as commis chef, right at bottom, stayed for five years and ended up head chef.”
And while he liked the three months off in the winter – and jetted off to Indonesia or Malaysia as soon as the doors were locked for the season – he began to find the hours a slog. As did Kim. “When we been together for a few years, she said to me, ‘I’m a bit fed up looking like I’m a single person.’ Anything that was on at weekends, she was always there on her own because I was at work.”

This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 20-30, issue 103.

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Photography Neale Smith
Words Stephanie Murphy
Art Direction Gillian Welsh