Meet Craig Somers, head chef at one of the city’s best loved restaurants, The Silver Darling.

‘At the start of the year, I came back to The Silver Darling to lead the kitchen team which was a real homecoming moment for me as this is where I got my start in the industry, and in fact, met my now wife.

‘Back when I was twenty, I was a commis chef here and starting out my career so I have always loved the restaurant.

‘Before returning, I was head chef at The Tolbooth in Stonehaven which taught me valuable skills but to return as head chef is a fantastic personal achievement.

‘When I’m not in the kitchen, you’ll find me walking in the hills and enjoying the countryside. It’s a great way to unwind from the pace of a busy kitchen.

‘At The Silver Darling, our focus is on fresh and seasonal produce with a mix of seafood dishes and meat options to complement the new surroundings of the recent refurbishment.

‘We are lucky to be in the perfect location to get the best fish produce which is delivered daily to our kitchens. For example, our fresh crab comes direct from the boats in Gourdon.

‘I like to keep the dishes simple but I will add my twist with the accompaniments and get a lot of inspiration from the cookery books from leading restaurants.

‘Seasonality is key for us and we tend to change the menu every three to four months which allows us to get creative with seasonal produce which is great for our customers.

Seared Shetland Scallops

with hazelnut vinaigrette, pickled apples & pea shoots


  • 16 medium scallops
  • 50g washed pea shoots
  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 85g roasted hazelnuts
  • 60g olive oil
  • 10g sherry vinegar


Slice the apple, discarding the core and chop into strips, mix with half of the lemon juice and leave to pickle for at least an hour.

Blitz the hazelnuts in a food processor until finely chopped but not too powdery or chop by hand.

Mix this with the oil, the other half of the lemon juice and the vinegar and season.

When ready to cook, place a large non-stick frying pan on a medium to high heat for a couple of minutes, coat the scallops with some vegetable oil and season well.

Place scallops flat side down into the pan and sear until lightly caramelised (about 1.5 to 2 minutes) turn over the scallops and lower the heat slightly and cook for the same length of time on the other side. Place the scallops on kitchen roll to absorb excess oil.

Place four scallops on each plate, top with the apples, pea shoots and hazelnut vinaigrette.

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