Gary Maclean, MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 winner, talks to The Staff Canteen

The  Staff Canteen


Senior Chef Lecturer at City of Glasgow College, Gary Maclean has been crowned MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 winner.... and he can finally talk about it!

The Staff Canteen spoke to Gary about the support he has received on social media, how it felt to win and how he is looking forward to going back to the day job, teaching the chefs of the future.

Gary Maclean MasterChef: The Professionals Winner 2016
Gary Maclean
MasterChef: The Professionals Winner 2016

“I’ve no idea what I’m supposed to be doing,” laughed Gary. “I just know I have ten radio interviews in the next hour or so!”

He’s living the MasterChef: The Professionals dream today as the 2016 winner, and despite having not gone to bed since it was announced Gary was definitely in high spirits.

“It actually finally feels real, when you are there its very weird but now I can tell people it feels good. At the time you have to put it to the back of your mind and get on with your life and just wait for the show to start.

“You know there is a juggernaut heading your way and you just have to keep quiet!”

Gary has received huge support on social media, gaining over 6,000 followers on twitter in just a few hours. Not only has he had huge congratulations but it appears he has inspired people by being in his forties and a lecturer.

“I’m absolutely gobsmacked by the reaction,” said Gary. “I think I’ve got a 1000 messages I still need to look at! I just can’t believe the response I’ve had.

“I was a bit concerned I was older but I think I’ve ticked a few boxes for people – I’m older, a family guy, Scottish and the Scots always get behind the Scots in these things. The biggest thing though is the fact I’m a lecturer I think that really sparked an interest, the fact I teach for a living but I’m still happy to go out here and learn more.”


Gary may be a chef lecturer now but he has been a restaurant chef throughout his whole career and he definitely enjoyed being back in the kitchen and taking on the MasterChef: The Professionals challenges.

“I was like a duck to water! The challenges were great and all the teams we worked with were brilliant – George at Gravetye and Esben at Maaemo, it was amazing.

Gary says he was ‘totally inspired’ by his trip to Maaemo and he found himself asking ‘why is no one doing this in Scotland?’

“Within half an hour of walking in the place I felt at home. I wasn’t intimidated and I understood it.” He added: “It blew my brain that there were no lemons in the place or chocolate or olive oil – it was just purely what was available in that country. I just clicked with that and I loved it.”

Gary Maclean winning MasterChef The Professionals dish
roe deer with whisky carrots

Maaemo was clearly a high for Gary but there were low points during his experience, in particular when he cooked for the chefs table, we can’t understand why a room of Michelin-starred chefs would be intimidating!

“I was lucky I didn’t have many low points but Anton Mosimann not liking my dish was probably the lowest point. I’ve looked up to him for nearly 30 years but it’s just the way it is, just one of those things.”

He added: “MasterChef is a once in a lifetime experience and I feel really privileged to have been given this opportunity.”

Gary’s final three dishes for the judges were razor clams with asparagus and lemon gel; main course was roe deer with whisky carrots and dessert was chocolate tart with raspberries. But would he change anything looking back?

Gary Maclean MasterChef: The Professionals winner 2016“I just concentrated on cooking and flavour, just proper cookery with balance and seasoning. I was inspired by Esben and Maaemo, I sat in the hotel looking over the fjords of Norway when I wrote that final menu. I wouldn’t have changed anything.”

He may be a MasterChef: The Professionals champion but he’ll still be heading back to the day job and we are glad to hear that he’ll be continuing to teach the next generation of chefs.

“I love it!” Said Gary. “We have just moved into a brand new college with amazing facilities and I can’t wait.”

So is MasterChef as tough as it looks and would Gary do it again if he had the chance?

“Much tougher!” He laughed. “But I’d definitely do it again and I’d encourage anyone who has that inkling to try it to just go for it. It’s an amazing experience and an amazing platform and you just don’t know what will come out of it.”

By Cara Houchen



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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd December 2016

Gary Maclean, MasterChef: The Professionals 2016 winner, talks to The Staff Canteen