Great British Menu 2014 - Scotland Heat

The  Staff Canteen

Meet the Great British Menu 2014 contestants from Scotland; Stephen McLaughlin, Neil Rankin and Jak O'Donnell.

Great British Menu Stephen McLaughlin
Stephen McLaughlin

Stephen McLaughlin

Stephen began his long standing relationship with his mentor Andrew Fairlie in 1994 at 17 years old while studying at Glasgow College of Food and Technology. He applied for work experience at One Devonshire Gardens where Andrew was head chef. He then left after his studies and spent a year at Malmaison before returning as a commis chef.

There he worked hard for six years and worked his way up to junior sous chef. In 2001 Andrew opened Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles and asked Stephen to come and work for him as sous chef, where he joined the team that earned the restaurant's first Michelin star within its first year.

When the head chef, Darin Cambell, left in 2006, Stephen was promoted to head chef. Gleneagles has since gained a second star under Stephen’s leadership, and four AA rosettes. He has shown excellent technique as displayed at the demonstrations he has featured in, such as the 2010 Scottish Chefs Conference in Glasgow where he exhibited in front of 500 delegates. Stephen prefers to think of himself as "kitchen manager" as he believes that building a good relationship with a strong team is paramount.  

Neil Rankin

Great British Menu 2014 Neil Rankin
Neil Rankin

The Scottish born chef started his career in such fine dining establishments as Rhodes 24, Chez Bruce, The Glasshouse and Latymer at Pennyhill Park. Neil eventually realised that it was not the food he wanted to cook, and so steered in the direction of the less formal barbecue and smoke mastery.

This led him to cook at the London Meatopia festival, and Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa with Adam Perry Lang. He then went on to head Soho’s Pitt Cue Co, followed by John Salt in Islington, where he promised to serve pure “carnivore food porn”.

>>> Related: Neil Rankin to launch new animal barbecue restaurant on Bonfire Night

He now runs the Smokehouse, Islington, where he is able to express his passion for fine quality meat, using the latest barbequing and smoking techniques, complemented by a huge selection of craft beers. His fine training early in his career ensures that his menu will always hold surprises.  

JaK O'Donnell

From when she was four years old, Jaqueline remembers being sent to the garden to turn the soil and pull rhubarb, and then being rewarded with a

Great British Menu 2014 Jacqueline O'Donnell
Jacqueline O'Donnell

beautiful rhubarb crumble. She remembers having no idea how the former became the latter, and wanting to find out. 12 years of being a pastry chef awaited her and a career that saw her working alongside Shirley Spears, Nick Nairn, Raymond Blanc and Tom Kitchin.

>>> Related: Tom Kitchin, Chef/Patron, The Kitchin, Edinburgh

She then opened a private catering business with her sister Pauline, and as the two expanded they looked for a location. After four years in Glasgow’s West End they took the plunge and opened The Sisters at Jordanhill – the homely hidden treasure. The Sisters at Kelvingrove soon followed at the more central location, and with a livelier atmosphere. The sisters have been working together for 15 years and are always friendly faces either in the kitchen or front of house.

By Harriet Knight

>>> Read more about Great British Menu here 

>>> Read more about Great British Menu 2014 here

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th May 2014

Great British Menu 2014 - Scotland Heat