Masterchef champion – ‘Most exciting time for Scottish food in 30 years’

UK Masterchef: The Professionals winner Gary Maclean has joined the judging panel of Scotland’s top competition for hotels, restaurants and gastro pubs.

The Senior Chef Lecturer at City of Glasgow College beat 47 other professional chefs in seven weeks of culinary challenges in the BBC TV show. The final programme attracted a viewing audience of 10 million.

The 45-year-old father of six said he was surprised to have been asked to join the Advisory Board of the Catering Scotland (CIS) Excellence Awards as he had twice finished runner up in the Hospitality Educator category.

“It’s an honour,” he commented. “I’ve looked up to others on the Board throughout my career. Each is an expert in their field.”

Gary, who started working in hotels at the age of 15, said he was joining the panel at “the most exciting time in food in Scotland in my whole career. Edinburgh has been a guiding light for more than 10 years. Loads of young chefs are opening restaurants all over the country, especially in Glasgow, and the food is often magnificent.“

His career has included Head Chef at Glasgow’s Yes and October restaurants, work for the GI Group of bars and restaurants, and Executive Chef at Ayrshire’s Buzzworks.

He has taught many thousands of students and teaching has been the love of his life. “I get a big kick out of it,” he said. “It allows you to hone your own skills and it’s a massive responsibility to coach the next generation of chefs.”

What will he be looking for as a judge? “People who are pushing the boat out, re-writing the rules, being adventurous, putting their heads above the parapet and going beyond the accolades they already have.”

Gary added: “The CIS Awards’ presentation is a massive night in the hospitality calendar. It’s one of the key events of the year with a special atmosphere.”

The organisers also announced that Kevin McGillivray, Regional Executive Chef of Macdonald Hotels and President of the Scottish Federation of Chefs, has also been appointed to the Advisory Board.

Others on the Advisory Board include Fergus Chambers, Food & Beverage Director of The Buell Consultancy Group; Ray Lorimer, Managing Director, At Your Convenience Ltd; David Cochrane, Chief Executive of the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland; James Thomson , owner of Edinburgh’s Prestonfield Hotel, The Tower and The Witchery; and Stephen Carter, General Manager of the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews.

As Scotland’s annual competition combining the catering, hospitality and tourism industries, the CIS Excellence Awards are seen as the ultimate accolade for Scottish hotels, restaurants, gastro pubs, chefs and other organisations.

Entries close on 10 March. The Awards presentation dinner will be held on Thursday 25 May at the Glasgow Hilton. To enter see

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