In mid-March this year, the Robertson family gathered at home in Calatayud, Spain. Norrel Robertson MW was chef for the night. His eldest son James was home from Edinburgh after an abrupt end to his school term due to Covid-19, because on 11 March the World Health Organization had announced the breakout had become a pandemic.
Chicken a la plancha was on the menu.
As he prepared the food, Robertson — the founder/winemaker behind El Escocés Volante, The Flying Scotsman — suddenly felt a stinging sensation in his nose. It was immediately followed by rising fear.
Was that smoke?
He could smell smoke. He checked to see if he was burning the dinner. He wasn’t. Within 30 minutes, the winemaker had completely lost his sense of smell.