Now, if you’re going to enter this ‘Glenrothes Whisky Maker‘ competition that starts on Monday, you’ll want to be aware of some things. The first is that there is a tradition in Rothes House: guests cook breakfast. Competitively. Be prepared for that.
Anyone who’s ever stayed in Rothes House has been up at the crack of dawn, figuring out the coffee machine, trying to find the eggs and searching for interesting and appropriate ideas for a cooked breakfast for whomever else is about.
And it’s not just a case of rustling up some toast and a cuppa. Breakfast is scored and your efforts are recorded in detail, kept for posterity and then revisited and compared against all others, past and future. Ronnie Cox has a book with reviews, and a complicated system of marking (out of five quaichs). You’re scored on the food itself, promptness (we’re talking 8am here), presentation, and even the cleanup afterwards.
I made the above oaty pancakes (and even a separate batch of eggless pancakes for one allergic attendee), served with poached eggs, banana, crispy bacon and maple syrup. I reckon I scored pretty well – and especially on the cleanup. But there were some little touches I could have added. Apparently you’d do quite well at this if you rustle up some hearty bacon sandwiches, but serve them with mimosas on the verandah.
And then it was off to the hills to engage in the local sporting activities. At least, the kind you can do without building up a sweat. And again, the atmosphere was competitive – and that tends to stay with you for a while afterwards.
In particular, that spirit has remained through to the writing of this blog post. Through careful editing and some judicious selection, for instance, I’m able to present the (frankly fallacious) idea that these activities were something I was generally better at than whisky writer Dominic Roskrow.
Witness and compare our respective skills on the field:
Okay – so I only chose the best bits. In fact, between the three of us (Marcin Miller is holding the camera) it was all pretty even. We each won one event, came second in another, and third in one. It could not have been more satisfyingly egalitarian if there’d been some sort of public relations exercise at work (oh, wait… hang on a minute).
We decided not to try the blindfold crosscountry driving game, but instead opted for extra rounds of shooting at inanimate objects. It was a lot of fun. Of course, we didn’t get time for the salmon fishing that the four winners of the Glenrothes competition will no doubt get to share in – but I’m convinced that if we were able to pack so much activity into just 24 hours, a whole week will be an incredible prize with some fantastic memories and souvenirs to take away at the end of it.
You’d also get to visit The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh (which we’ve blogged about here) – and have dinner with Scotland’s pre-eminent whisky writer, Charles MacLean. There are going to be hundreds of other prizes too, apparently.
Entry will be simple; you just supply your details and then answer in 50 words or fewer why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. Well, I say “simple” – my guess is that getting that sort of thing down to fifty words is going to be tough – though brevity’s never been my forté.
The competition will run from 4th October 2010 to 31st January 2011 and can be entered at www.theglenrothes.com . They’re taking entries in English, Spanish and Chinese.
All the best of luck with it. And if you do win, do us all a favour – blog it, would you?