The boy done Glasgow proud, as the vernacular goes, and for Gary MacLean, chef lecturer at City of Glasgow College, there are few larger accolades than walking off with the title, Masterchef’s top professional chef.
But that’s exactly what he’s done, after fighting his way through round after round and all the while producing stunning plates of food, many with a distinct Scottish flavour.
Gary spoke to The Extra this week and said: ““My inspiration to become a chef was my love for cooking. I wasn’t great at school and found home economics very easy and it was something I was good at.
“When I became a chef it wasn’t that popular a choice. I was very lucky to get a job in a good hotel where the chef was embracing the new style of food. Twenty-nine years later, I still love what I do. I am very proud to be a chef and have worked for the best restaurants in Glasgow. I took up a full-time position as chef lecturer where I originally trained, at the City of Glasgow College six years ago, and was promoted to senior chef lecturer last year.
On the Masterchef competition Gary said: “I entered because I absolutely love the competition. But the main reason was that my kids and students every year ask why I haven’t done it!
“Getting to the finals is the hardest test a chef can put themselves through and to reach this point takes serious hard work and a little luck. I have seen fantastic chefs leave the competition. All I have done is taken on the challenges one at a time, and, importantly, enjoyed every second of the experience.
“I’m back to my day job, class attendance is up and the students seem to be listening more - long may that continue! The competition is a real talking point in class every year and for me to be on TV the night before and then in the class next day is very strange but the response and the impact on the students is all very positive.
“My biggest influence and rock is my wife Sharon. Without her I wouldn’t have done half the stuff I have.”