Chefs 2016

Jonathan MacDonald & Daniel Spurr

Jonathan MacDonald

Filled with ambition and a passion for food at an early age, a fresh-faced 15-year-old Jonathan knocked on the door of Yes restaurant in Glasgow to ask for a Saturday job. The doors opened. His journey began.

It has been a voyage of adventure that has taken Jonathan on a whistle-stop, globe-spanning tour of duty; moving to London to train further, he subsequently landed the coveted role as Head Chef for the McLaren Formula One team.

Having also lived in Australia and Vietnam, Jonathan returned to his home town of Glasgow five years ago, where he established scoop: an events company which made a significant impression (not least with scoop’s polished aluminium retro-American trailer-cum-fully-fitted mobile kitchen; affectionately nicknamed: “The Bullet”); catering at Scottish weddings with flair and numerous high-profile events.

He then proved a key figure in the street food revolution in Scotland, co-founding Street Food Cartel and was also been mentor to pupils of Linlithgow Academy during the BBC Scotland series, “Teen Canteen”.

In November 2014, marking his contribution to the Food Industry in Scotland, Jonathan joined actor James McAvoy, singer Paolo Nutini, artist John Byrne and broadcaster Sally Magnusson on the list of winners of Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards 2014, hosted at the 17th-century Prestonfield House in Edinburgh.

The opening of Ox and Finch in May 2014 has been the latest step on Jonathan’s career path (to date). The hugely-popular Kelvingrove restaurant has added a new dimension to the quality dining arena in Glasgow, with its relaxed, sharing concept of contemporary dining. Jonathan describes the food at Ox and Finch as “simple, seasonal and ingredient-led: combining big, bold flavours with global influences served in a relaxed, sharing style, whilst using the finest produce and, of course, top-quality Scottish meat and seafood.”

Daniel Spurr

Aged 28, Strathaven-born Daniel has brought levels of experience and innovation to the kitchen of Ox and Finch which strongly belie his age.

Daniel started out on his career path early: beginning training at 15-years-of-age. Head Chef, Joe Anderson of Steven Sanderson’s restaurant, The Steayban in Glassford mentored Daniel; building the practical experience and the fundamentals of his craft which would eventually lead him to the Rogano in Glasgow. Having turned 20, he soon found himself leading the kitchen of Café Rogano itself.

Daniel then journeyed northwards to the Cameron House Hotel, joining the team at Restaurant Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond. Stating this as a “turning point” in his career, Daniel commenced working in the kitchen at Restaurant Martin Wishart in the May of the year. In November, the kitchen was awarded their first Michelin star and Daniel’s skills saw him to being promoted to sous chef shortly after.

Having previously worked with Jonathan at both scoop and Street Food Cartel, Daniel’s shared-vision of the concept of Ox and Finch has proved an invaluable contribution to the popularity of the restaurant. The style of Ox and Finch is born out of the food and cooking experiences of Jonathan and Daniel, who have both worked in more “fine dining” environments in the past. These experiences have been invaluable in terms of developing foundations and technique, but they have both always preferred a more relaxed, accessible approach to restaurant dining. This has culminated in Ox and Finch.


Lorna McNee

Lorna comes from a very small village in the north of Scotland called Dallas. Whilst still at school she washed dishes in a local busy family run Italian restaurant called Little Sicily serving Italian and Mediterranean food, nothing fancy but very good food cooked by a talented chef.

The head chef kept encouraged her to take up cooking and after finally tooking his advice Lorna started studying Hospitality at Moray College in Elgin. It was then she also stopped washing dishes and started prepping food and dressing starters in Little Sicily.

Nearing the end of my 3 years at college she was hoping to get a full time position at the Michelin Starred Boath House in Nairn but unfortunately they were fully staffed but I went in on my days off unpaid to gain more experience.

Determined to work at a Michelin Starred restaurant, a lecturer organised dinner at Andrew Fairlies and a 3 day work experience for her. Following this great opportunity Lorna spoke with Chef Andrew and explained her reasons for wanting to work alongside him – not having a lot of fine dining experience, he was not too keen to hire her. However she managed to persuade him and within 6 months Lorna admits to making more mistakes than she cares to remember. However 8 years on, she is still there and is no sous chef within a team and now teaching the younger generation.

Last year Lorna entered and won The Game Chef of the Year.

Mark Sargeant

At a young age Mark Sargeant discovered that cooking, and cooking well, was something that came naturally, that excited him, gave him a sense of ambition and a future. Growing up in the heart of the Kent countryside meant that there was always different fresh fruit and vegetables available at the beginning of each new season, local meat and fish from around the Kent coast for Mark to experiment in the kitchen with.

Mark’s first job after graduating from college was at Boodles Gentleman’s Club in St James’ London, working with Keith Podmore. This was a great introduction to traditional British food and an ideal training ground for the young chef. Leaving the heights of the city, Mark returned to Kent to work at Reads Restaurant in Faversham under the instruction of David Pitchford; during his 3 years as Sous Chef at the restaurant, Reads gained its first Michelin Star.
Back to London and a new position at Le Soufflé Restaurant at the Hyde Park Hotel where Mark worked with the late Peter Kromberg. He worked at the establishment for 18 months and whilst there, worked at Chez Nico on Park Lane on his one day off each week.

It was at his next position working with Steven Terry at Oliver Peyton’s Coast Restaurant that Mark Sargeant won Young Chef of the Year in 1996. It was also here that he met Gordon Ramsay and then started to work with the ambitious chef in February 1997 at Aubergine. Along with the rest of the Aubergine team, Mark went on to open Restaurant Gordon Ramsay as Sous Chef and stayed there for 4 years, during which time the restaurant won its 3 Michelin Stars.
In the late 1990’s Mark’s talent and dedication to the job was rewarded with the appointment of Head Chef at the new Gordon Ramsay at Claridges in 2001. Here, Mark not only gained a Michelin Star a year later, but was also awarded the title of Chef of the Year in 2002.

Mark ‘Sarge’ Sargeant was Head Chef for 7 years during which he also instigated the opening of Ramsay’s three new pubs, The Narrow, The Warrington and The Devonshire, and was also instrumental in the opening of Foxtrot Oscar.
Throughout his 13 years with Gordon Ramsay, Mark was responsible for all of his media activities and co-authored his 12 books, wrote regular columns for the Times Magazine, Olive and BBC Good Food magazines, as well as assisting with the production of his television work both in the UK and abroad.

In June 2011 Mark Sargeant opened two restaurants in the coastal town of Folkestone in Kent. ‘Rocksalt’ is the harbour-front restaurant and bar, while ‘The Smokehouse’ is the fish and chip restaurant and takeaway, there are also four bijou ‘Rocksalt Rooms’, fully equipped bedrooms. Rocksalt has won a string of awards including 84th best restaurant in the Restaurant Magazine top 100 uk restaurants 2013, Best Restaurant in Kent 2014, 5th best restaurant by the sea in the Times magazine, 2 AA Rosettes and 4 AA stars for Rocksalt Rooms.

Mark’s first cookbook, ‘My Kind of Cooking’, was published in October 2011 by Quercus. Mark has presented Saturday Cookbook, ITV’ flagship Saturday morning cookery show, and also regularly appears on the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, ITVs This Morning and Food Network UK shows. Mark was delighted to have been chosen to create exclusive menus for Royal Ascot 2012 and is going to heads up the food at the London Salon Priveé.
In 2013 Mark opened Plum and Spilt Milk, GNH Bar and Kiosk at the Great Northern Hotel in Kings Cross. This hotel has recently undergone a £45m refurbishment and Mark will be working as Chef Director overseeing all F&B outlets.
Mark worked with ISS UK who are the industry leaders in facilities management, consulting on menus, food development and staff training. He also worked with ISS Education going to schools around the country and teaching children of various ages about food and eating well. This relationship lasted 4 years and ended amicably in December 2015.

Mark has recently signed an exciting deal with WSH to work closely with all their brands and also work on a new project. Details will follow soon.
Mark is the brand ambassador for Knorr and also the ambassador for the Young National Chef of the Year Competition.
Mark has recently joined forces with Brakes and will be working closely with them on Brand development and training.

Alongside this Mark has worked with various brands promoting their produce including EBLEX Beef and Lamb, Bowmore whisky, Fresh herb Company, De'Longhi, Lion Brand eggs, Magimix and The Groovy food company, Mr. Bo Jangles chocolates as well as doing promotional work with Cyprus potatoes for Tesco.

Mark has also opened his first pub in the picturesque village of Kent, Ickham called the Duke William.
Mark has recently partnered with American Airlines designing menus for all premium cabins flying from Heathrow to all US destinations.

Julie Sharp

For the past five years Julie has been working for Barry Callebaut at their Chocolate Academy in Banbury, here she has been lucky enough to be able to combine her two main passions of chocolate and teaching.
Before this Julie has spent most of her career as Executive Pastry Chef in high profile 5 star establishments around the world, including Claridges, The Mandarin Oriental, and the Landmark in London. She has enjoyed successful spells working abroad at The Lyford Cay, a Millionaires residence in the Bahamas, Chateau Lake Louise in Canada and Hotel Sofitel in Melbourne. She has lectured in Patisserie to Culinary Arts Students and within this role helped design and develop the new industry craft qualifications.
Julie’s area of expertise is mainly in the production of chocolate and pâtissière; this led her to being awarded Pastry Chef of the Year from the Craft Guild of Chefs in 2004 while working as Executive Pastry Chef at Claridges. In 2012 Julie was invested as a Fellow of The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and invited to be an Honour fellow of Westminster Kingsway College in 2016.


Billy Boyter

In 2014 Billy Boyter bought and re-opened The Cellar Restaurant in his home town of Anstruther in Fife, completing a lifelong ambition in doing so. Proudly gaining 3 AA Rosettes and 1 Michelin Star in the first 18 months of business. The Cellar has now established itself as one of the finest places to eat in Scotland.

Billy started his career as a student at Glenrothes College in Fife. It was here that Billy first became involved with the Scottish Junior Culinary Team and competed with them all over the world. In 2002 Billy was selected to represent Scotland at The World Junior Master Chef Challenge in Queenstown New Zealand. Accompanied by his tutor Scott Lyall, Billy went on to win 2 golds and the overall trophy. In the same year Billy was also part of the junior team that competed at The Culinary World Cup in Luxemburg. Where they went on to win 2 gold medals and where crowned World Champions. Billy was also “Scottish Young Apprentice of The Year” in 2002 and also named CIS young Chef of The Year in 2003. He also made an appearance on ITV’s Britain’s Best Dish.

Through his career Billy has worked in some of the best restaurants and hotels in Scotland. Working at Restaurant Number One at The Balmoral Hotel with Executive Head Chef Jeff Bland and his then Head Chef Craig Sandle. Billy eventually worked his way up to become Head Chef at Restaurant Number One before leaving to open The Cellar Restaurant in his home town, where he now looks to create his own style of restaurant.

Graeme Cheevers

Graeme Cheevers grew up on the west coast of Scotland, where he began working in kitchens at the age of 15 and attended college for a short time. It was working in the industry where he felt most comfortable and where his passion for cooking was fueled by great Scottish produce.

Motivated by the industry, Graeme took on a number of chef roles, before Joining Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond in 2010. He fell in love with both the restaurant ethos and amazing location and continued to progress his career through the ranks to become the Head Chef in late 2011.

His passion has since taken him to various kitchens around the world including 3 Michelin Star Per se and Eleven Madison Park in New York.

Graeme is always eager to learn new techniques, work with new produce, although what he loves most is working in the West of Scotland.

Graeme is a contributor to the Saturday Herald food column where he enjoys writing recipes for the home cook.

Ian Scaramuzza

Born in Maryhill, Glasgow, Ian started his career at House for an Art Lover in Glasgow's Bellahouston Park, and from there went on to work at Etain, a Terence Conran restaurant, with Geoffry Smeddle & Neil Clark .

In 2007 he joined Andrew Fairlie at his prestigious 2 Michelin Star restaurant at Gleneagles. Starting as a Commis Chef, he quickly progressed through the ranks to become Sous Chef, before leaving at the end of 2011.

A move to London in early 2012 saw Ian join Claude Bosi at his 2 Michelin star Hibiscus. Initially joining as Sous Chef, he quickly took over as Head Chef where he remained for 4 years.

In 2015, Ian became only the 2nd Scottish chef since Andrew Fairlie in 1984 to win the prestigious Roux Scholarship, a win that would take him on a three month stage in January 2016 to Corey Lee's 3 Michelin Star Benu, in San Francisco. Having been offered sponsorship, Ian is currently awaiting visa clearance to return to San Francisco and continue working with Corey in his new concept restaurant, In Situ.

At the moment Ian is working at the Clove Club in London, recently ranked no. 26 in the World's 50 Best, whilst working on a very exciting project with esteemed New York chef Dan Barber from Bluehill Farm at Stone Barns.

Ian has been very fortunate that his career has taken him all around the world, to the US, Hong Kong and Singapore to name but a few, but he is delighted to be back in Glasgow for this year's Scottish Chef's Conference!

Tom Aikens

Tom Aikens moved to London to work at Cavalier’s 1 * when he was 19, then to The Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge with Philip Britten 1*.

Aged 21, Tom worked as Chef de Partie with Pierre Koffman at 2* La Tante Claire, and during this period the restaurant earned its 3rd *.

In 1993, Tom was appointed Sous Chef at the 2 * Pied à Terre in Charlotte Street, working with Richard Neat.

In 1994 he moved to France at restaurant Joël Robuchon in Paris 3* and a year at 3 * Gérard Boyer Les Crayères.

Back to London in1996, aged 26 he returned to Pied à Terre as Head Chef where he maintained the 2*star becoming the youngest British chef to achieve this accolade. Tom left after 5 years returning to La Tante Claire as Head Chef, then on a farm for Daylesford Organic.

In 2003, Tom Aikens Restaurant opened in Chelsea, Tom’s Kitchen Chelsea opened in November 2006 and Somerset house 2010. Canary Wharf June 2013 and Istanbul December 2013. He has opened two restaurants in Hong Kong called the Pawn and Fat pig and in Dubai pots pans and boards.

Tom has published 3 books, Tom Aikens Cooking: FISH and Tom Aikens Easy. He has also made several appearances on Television reaching the final banquet at last year’s Great British menu on BBC2, he has appeared on Saturday and Market Kitchen as well.