Flash-grilled: Lorna McNee

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash-grilled with Great British Menu Champion of Champions Lorna McNew head chef of Glasgow’s Cail Bruich

Related tags: Chef, Great british menu, Restaurant, Glasgow

The Great British Menu 'Champion of Champions', who took over as head chef of Glasgow’s Cail Bruich restaurant last year, on working with Andrew Fairlie and her dream dinner party guest list.

What was your first industry job?
My first job in the industry was as a KP in a small family run Italian kitchen - I got the job of my dreams debearding mussels and picking parsley.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
I would love to have been a criminal photographer. But if not that then possibly a firefighter, I love anything with a bit of a rush that makes you feel like you’re making a difference.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Having worked alongside Andrew Fairlie he is the person I admire the most. He was a gentleman and a great coach at the same time. He taught me to not only learn my craft but how to be a good person and humble at the same time. Always make time for your days off and treat people with the respect they deserve for the job that they do. He would always tell you to work hard and do what you do with passion, but his main thing was 'have fun with it' so that’s what I intend to do. He was a true hero of our industry.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
Big egos and disorganisation.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
I don’t ever remember anything odd ever being said to me. That being said, I’ve not had much contact with the guests.

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
Great ingredients cooked well.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
I’ve not had any reviews done on my food yet, I’m very nervous about it. Having said that, my first year on Great British Menu Oliver Peyton said my starter was like a fish trifle, which was definitely not a compliment!

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Work hard, don’t let anyone put you down, ask lots of questions, and absorb everything that the chef tells you.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
A sharp knife.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Sole meunière with French fries, and custard tart to finish.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
Most memorable meal I’ve ever had was my first time in Restaurant Andrew Fairlie before I worked there. I ate it and was amazed by the flavour - that’s the moment that I realised how good food could be. Outside that, my favourite meal was at Core by Clare Smyth.

MasterChef or Great British Menu?
Great British Menu, obviously! The team that work on that show are absolutely amazing.

Most overrated food?
Truffle.

Who would your dream dinner party guests be?
Clare Smyth, Tomas Keller, Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White, Dominique Crenn, Björn Frantzen, Alex Dilling and Daniel Calvert.

What’s your earliest food memory?
Picking fresh peas from my uncle’s garden, eating all the fresh peas raw straight away because they were so delicious and sweet and then chewing on the skins and sucking out all the juice before discarding it.

Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
Anywhere with my group of girlfriends - we know how to have a good party.

Related topics: People

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