Meet the National Chef of the Year 2019 finalists: Derek Johnstone

The Staff Canteen

National Chef of the Year 2019 finalist, Derek Johnstone is head chef at Borthwick Castle in Scotland.

Derek studied at Glasgow College of Food Technology before moving on to work in four-star hotels throughout Scotland.  In 2008, he won the inaugural MasterChef: The Professionals  before going on to work at two Michelin starred Le Gavroche with Michel Roux Jnr.  He also worked with Albert Roux OBE, who was the first chef in the UK to be awarded three Michelin stars. 

In 2017, Derek became head chef at Borthwick Castle, an exclusive-use private castle 12 miles from Edinburgh. Prior to becoming a finalist in the National Chef of the Year competition, Derek was also a finalist in the Scottish Food Championships and Knorr Scottish Chef of the Year, both in 2007.

Why did you enter National Chef of the Year?

For any chef, this is an incredibly important competition. I’ve always held it in high regard and this felt exactly the right time to enter for me. I have spent the last ten years of my career learning from some of the most talented chefs in Britain, and now I feel I have gained enough knowledge and learned the necessary skills which are required to cook at this level of competition.  

How did it feel to get through to the final?

I was a little bit shocked as I was cooking against a lot of very talented chefs, some of which have gained their own Michelin stars. I was delighted that the judges enjoyed my food and to be given the first place in this year's finale was an amazing feeling. I am delighted to be cooking now at the Restaurant Show in London on 2nd of October. I need to push on again to ensure my dishes continue to improve, if I am to stand a chance of being successful.

Knorr and Unilever Food Solutions are proud to be longstanding sponsors of the National Chef of the Year competition. The foodservice industry is a significant and important part of Knorr’s business and we’re proud to have been by the side of culinary professionals since 1838.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 28th September 2018

Meet the National Chef of the Year 2019 finalists: Derek Johnstone