Scotland’s first national chef will be the star turn at this year’s Taste of Shetland food festival.
And Gary Maclean says he is excited at the prospect of coming to the isles to learn more about Shetland’s “most amazing fresh, natural produce”.
The 47-year-old will appear at a special session on the opening night on Friday 5th October before giving a cookery demonstration the following morning in the festival’s “food theatre”.
Organisers Shetland Food and Drink are delighted to have attracted Mr Maclean and manager Jill Franklin said his support for using locally-sourced ingredients was a “fantastic combination for our festival visitors”.
She added: “Gary’s session on the Saturday morning will really showcase his skills and, we hope, show just what’s possible with local ingredients.”
Glaswegian Mr Maclean developed his culinary skills in various hotels before opening his own restaurant in the city, aged 30. He went on to run the kitchens at Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art and the Burrell Collection and is now a senior lecturer at City of Glasgow College.
His expertise saw him win MasterChef: The Professionals in 2016 and late last year he was appointed Scotland’s first national chef, tasked with getting the country cooking more local grub.
He said he visited Shetland last year and was “not only blown away by the quality of the ingredients but the care producers have for their product”.
“I’ve already sampled Shetland’s fantastic fish and seafood and I completely understand why it’s in demand all over the world. I cannot wait to taste the produce available at the Taste of Shetland Festival and meet the producers behind it.
“It’s very exciting to be returning to Shetland and be invited to lead such a high-profile event.”
Shetland Food and Drink chairwoman Marian Armitage said Mr Maclean had a passion for education and inspiring others.
She said: “He was one of the most popular winners ever of MasterChef: The Professionals and you can absolutely see why when he’s in action – he makes cooking with local produce easy and accessible to all. We are very lucky to be welcoming him to Shetland to lead the festival. We’re sure he is going to be a huge hit.”
The Taste of Shetland Festival will again be in the Clickimin Leisure Centre in Lerwick where last year more than 3,000 foodies poured through the doors to see what was on offer. Shetland Food and Drink is again planning to run its Taste of Shetland Cooking Challenge which will culminate with a final cook-off at the festival.