Flash-grilled: Scott Crowe

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

2024 Gold Service Scholarship winner Scott Crowe on coping with the stress of a busy restaurant service

Related tags Gold service scholarship Front of house Hotel Restaurant The Balmoral Hotel

The 2024 Gold Service Scholarship Scholar, who is supervisor at The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, on coping with the stress of a busy shift, and his favourite post-service snack.

What was your first job?
My first serious job was working for a family friend in their chip shop. I would arrive first thing in the morning and do all the prep work: peel the potatoes, make the sauces, take in the orders, and organise the shop for opening. I would leave for service and come back again at closing to change the oil. 

Why did you want to work in restaurants?
It didn't feel like work. It was something that came naturally. My mum, brother, sister and grandad have all worked in hospitality, so I felt as though I was keeping up a tradition. I have tried my hand in other fields which at times felt like a chore. And competitions like the Gold Service Scholarship are what have kept me motivated and inspired to continue striving for greatness.

If you weren’t in the industry, what would you do? 
It is hard to think now what could have been. In Australia many of my friends have entered the mining industry. They’re doing well, it looks like hard work, but I would give it a go. 

What industry figure do you most admire, and why? 
A difficult question to answer that gets harder as my network grows. Mr Richard Cooke is somebody I have admired since we first met back in 2019 when he was running the Balmoral. Luigi Cagnin from The Ritz London has also been a major influence in my front of house journey since we first met when I started doing competitions. 

Pet hate in the dining room?
A quiet room. I love the hustle and bustle that comes with a busy service and the buzz you feel on a lively night. I want to see the team having fun with the guests, sharing stories and brightening days. It is much less enjoyable to walk around a lifeless room. 

What’s your best tip for keeping calm under pressure during a busy service?
During a busy service you should be more hands on. You need to understand which guests need to be prioritised, which section is holding strong, and which one might need a hand. I'm not saying you need to take over. You must communicate with your team what you are seeing to orchestrate a smooth and seamless service. Once you lose track of the night it can take time to recover. 

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
I'm sure there have been many conversations where the guests have thought I was the odd one. There is nothing that springs to mind immediately. I was once invited to go and work with a family in the south of France in their wine bar. Talk about head hunting!

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Walk before you run. Especially at the top level it can feel intimidating joining such established and knowledgeable teams. Nobody is expecting you to know everything. Study the menu in your spare time, on the bus to work. Listen to your colleagues and managers as they are all there to help you. Lock in the basics. I also recommend looking into competitions such as the Gold Service Scholarship as a goal to work towards as at each stage of these competitions you will meet great people and learn new, valuable skills. 

What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten in a restaurant?
I recently visited San Sebastian. Each meal was incredible. One that stood out was a crab ravioli with langoustines. I didn't want it to end. Rich yet delicate. Absolutely superb. One of those dishes where you mop every last bit up with the bread. 

Most overrated food?
Personally, I've never taken to oysters. 

What’s your favourite comfort food, post shift?
A wee toastie. Cheese and chorizo with some chilli jam.   

MasterChef ​or Great British Menu​?
For me, it's MasterChef​. 

If you could serve anyone, who would it be and why?
It saddens me to say, but the late Michel Roux. He was once affiliated with our hotel, and I was fortunate enough to look after him a couple of times. It was such an honour and I still hold these experiences close to my heart. He was kind and genuine, talentedand inspirational. He always had time for us during his stays. 

What’s your earliest food memory? 
My mum’s baking. We would often be playing outside while my mum baked for someone's birthday or a school fair. She has now turned this into a small business back home. The house always smelt so good, and it was always a treat to lick the spoon. More times than not she would bake extra so we could all enjoy some too. 

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
The beach. It doesn't matter the conditions; I'll be in the water. 

Tipple of choice?
At the moment I am really enjoying a bottle of High West American rye. A good friend of mine brought me back a bottle from his trip to Park City in Utah. From now on it will be a bottle I make sure stays stocked. 

Favourite food and drink pairing? 
Relatively basic. Valpolicella and a medium rare filet will do me nicely. 

What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?
Carbonara. Simple, quick, delicious!

Related topics Fine Dining

Related news

Follow us

Hospitality Guides

View more