Man Behind the Chef: Gary Maclean

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th February 2017

In association with


In the build up to The Staff Canteen Live 2017 - supported by Westlands, at ScotHot 2017, we are taking a closer look at the chefs who will be joining us on stage.

We dig a little deeper to find out what they are hiding under those chef whites – next up is Gary Maclean, MasterChef: The Professionals winner 2016.

Senior Chef Lecturer at City of Glasgow College, Gary Maclean rose to prominence after becoming a finalist on the ninth series of the UK’s MasterChef: The Professionals which he later went on to win.

Qualifying as a chef almost 30 years ago, Gary worked in numerous top restaurants around Glasgow before becoming a chef lecturer at the college where he trained. He has been with City of Glasgow College for 13 years.

Gary Maclean
Gary Maclean

What item of food do you hate cooking?

To be honest I don’t think I have anything. I hate using sprouts at Christmas only because I don’t see the point. As a young commis on the veg you would spend half your life at Christmas prepping them and then watching almost all of them come back uneaten.

What food, if any, are you allergic to?

I am very lucky not to be allergic to any foods.

>>> Read more in The Behind The Chef series here

What’s your favourite ingredient to work with?

I love natural Scottish produce such as shellfish and game.

What’s your guilty pleasure food?

My guilty pleasure is that I must have a Chinese chicken curry at least once a month.

What three ingredients would you take with you to a desert island and why?

Salt would be the big one but being surrounded by the sea you will have a plentiful supply. Pork because it is so diverse, it’s capable of loads of different cooking and preserving methods. Spices as they can take food to a new level and butter as I would struggle to cook without it.

If you weren’t a chef what would you be?

If I wasn’t a chef I would hate to think what I would be doing. I have never had any other interest in anything other than cooking. I would probably have been a welder or something else along those lines.

What radio station do you listen to in the kitchen?

We don’t do radio at the college. I did once put the Birdy song on for the students during a feathered game preparation class. I thought it was funny, not sure the students did though! When I’m in the kitchen it’s always Absolute Radio but only during prep.

What other kitchen would you most like to work in?

If given the chance I would love to get back into Maaemo in Oslo. Within 30 second of walking through the door of that 3 star kitchen I felt at home. I just loved the whole concept, everything in the kitchen had to come from Norway so there was no chocolate, lemons, olive oil, none of what we call chef staples, amazing.

Traditional cooking methods or modern techniques?

I couldn’t choose between them I love both aspects from traditional pressure cooking to sous vide. I love it all.

Why did you choose to get involved with TSC Live?

I love The Staff Canteen. I originally signed up with my college hat on and had agreed to provide student support for the demonstrator chefs. Then I won Masterchef so was asked to demo. It is a real honour to be asked especially with the standard of chefs who normally participate, and to get the chance to do it in Glasgow at ScotHot is an amazing prospect!

>>> ScotHot takes place on March 15-16, 2017 and you can register now here 
>>> Read more about The Staff Canteen Live here
>>> Read more from The Staff Canteen Live 2017 at ScotHot here

>>> Related: MasterChef: The Professionals winners - where are they now?

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th February 2017

Man Behind the Chef: Gary Maclean