Final four - MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 Gary Maclean

The Staff Canteen

Tonight is the start of finals week on MasterChef: The Professionals 2016. Let's meet Gary Maclean, one of the final four MasterChef: The Professionals contestants hoping to impress Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti to be in with a chance of taking this year's title.

MasterChef: The Professionals finalist 2016 Gary Maclean
MasterChef: The Professionals finalist 2016
Gary Maclean

Name: Gary Maclean

Region: Glasgow

Age: 45

Profession: Senior Chef Lecturer, City of Glasgow College

Personal: Married with five children 

Cooking Background: “My inspiration to become a chef was my love for cooking. I wasn’t great at school and found home economics classes very easy and felt it was something I was good at.

“When I became a chef it wasn’t as popular a choice as it is now. I was very lucky to get a job in a good hotel where the chef was embracing the new style of food. Twenty-nine years later, I still love what I do. I am very proud to be a chef and have worked for the best restaurants in Glasgow and Glasgow Museums to prominent hospitality groups, as well as part-time lecturing for 13 years. I took up a full-time position as Chef Lecturer where I originally trained, at the City of Glasgow College six years ago, and was promoted to Senior Chef Lecturer last year.

“I love cooking in every sense, everything from butchery to patisserie but my biggest buzz is teaching and guiding students into a successful career in the industry.”

Influences: “My biggest influence and rock is my wife Sharon. Without her I would have never been able to do half the stuff I have done in my career. We have been together since we met at college when we were 17.

“Other chefs who have been influential to me include: Willie McCurrach, my teacher at college, now my boss, a real inspiration; Willie Pike MBE, who has offered me great advice and shown me amazing skills throughout my career; and Steven Doherty, I only worked with briefly, but he truly changed the way I cook.”

On MasterChef: “I entered because I absolutely love the competition. But the main reason was that my kids and students every year ask why I haven’t done it!

“Getting to the finals is the hardest test a chef can put themselves through and to reach this point takes serious hard work and a little luck. I have seen fantastic chefs leave the competition. All I have done is taken on the challenges one at a time, and, importantly, enjoyed every second of the experience.

Cooking ambitions: “I’m back to my day job and class attendance is up and the students seem to be listening more - long may that continue! The competition is a real talking point in class every year and for me to be on TV the night before and then in the class next day is very strange but the response and the impact on the students is all positive.

“My main objective is to continue with my career in education and being a finalist in MasterChef: The Professionals is going to provide me with a unique platform that hopefully will open the door to some very interesting opportunities. I would love to use my experience in the competition to help enhance the profile of culinary education.

“If I was to dream, the perfect project alongside teaching, it would be doing more TV. I absolutely loved the environment and the team work it takes to pull something like this together. I have so much respect for the people that worked on the show. It’s very similar bond between the team that you would find in a very good kitchen amazing to be part of.”

MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 – The Final Week, starts tonight, continues Wednesday 21st and concludes Thursday 22nd December, 8pm on BBC Two

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The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th December 2016

Final four - MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 Gary Maclean