Darren’s passion for cooking is about highlighting the great natural qualities in food. He doesn’t like complicating dishes by introducing lots of confusing ingredients. Good sourcing of the best ingredients and treating them with respect is the secret to creating harmony in a dish. Darren is very passionate about homegrown, seasonal produce used in a sustainable and exciting manner.
I grew up just outside a small town called Blairgowrie in Perthshire, home of the UK’s finest ingredients, in my opinion.
Sitting in an Italian restaurant when I was about 7 or 8 with my parents, sister and grandparents. I remember telling them my grand plan that when I was older I was going to open my own restaurant which would serve different variations of cheese on toast.
My favourite food memory is an incredibly simple one. I was sitting in a beach side restaurant in Greece with my girlfriend and before we got our starters we got an amuse-bouche of grilled halloumi with basil pesto on toasted sourdough bread. It was so simple, three ingredients cooked perfectly and with respect, in the perfect surrounding, and it is something that just resonated with me.
Produce, people, underdog spirit and the countryside.
Underrated, groundbreaking and friendly.
Scotty from Star Trek, purely because I love sci-fi and could definitely see myself in Starfleet, maybe as a chef though, I'm not quite doctor material.
Helping shape the future of the industry. There are a lot of things that need to change in our industry and having the opportunity to bring about positive change is something I am very passionate about. The City of Glasgow College is truly the best education facility I have been to and I am proud to say I work there.
I love seeing progress in students; I love getting to witness that Eureka moment when everything falls into place and makes sense. This can be a tough industry and seeing the students' hard work come to fruition is very rewarding.
I love the raw and harsh nature of learning. I am a very competitive person, I want to be the best incarnation of myself I can be, and I need to put myself against great chefs to draw that out of me. I love the adrenaline rush.
Representing Scotland in America and winning 5 Gold medals and 1 Silver medal is by far the highlight of my career so far.
Scottish fish is the best in the world, bar none. I also love the berries grown back home. My family ran a raspberry farm so I grew up working with and using the best berries in the world. Our game is also the best around. Our beautiful mountains and natural resources mean they are raised in perfect conditions and the result is stunning meat.
I don’t like to do a lot to it. A simple ceviche or slowly confit piece of salmon for me is the best way to prepare it. Let the flavour of the salmon sing for itself, don’t cover it up, and treat it with respect.
I get a lot of my inspiration from photographs. Social media and books give me ideas and things I want to try. I don’t try to reinvent the wheel, I just like to put some fresh tyres on it.
Garlic, flour and salt. The base of any good food for me.
I like to cook a lot of Asian food. Aromatics like lemongrass, ginger, garlic and spices make food really exciting and interesting for me.
Not really to be honest. When I was younger there were a few things I didn’t really like, but as a chef I developed a palate for them and things I thought I didn’t like are now up there with some of my favourite ingredients.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Cooking should be an enjoyable experience; relax and enjoy it, you’re not doing a dinner service for 500 covers. You’ll normally be cooking for people you love, so cook accordingly. Also if you’re a really serious cook and like to use lots of pots and pans, then buy a dishwasher.
Put in the time and effort. The hours are long and tough so if you’re really serious then apply yourself. Once you’ve learned the craft life will get easier and the industry is really rewarding. Hard work pays off.
Passion to me is something that gets your heart, mind and body going. Being truly passionate about something is an adrenaline rush; it has extreme highs when you can feel like you’re ten feet tall and feel invincible, but it can also have extreme lows. The trick is to not give up through the hard times, because they always end. True passion and true love are one in the same to me.
Chef Lecturer, City of Glasgow College
Nations Cup World Champion
IKA Culinary Olympics Silver Medallist
Gold Medallist La Parade de Chefs
10 years industry training in restaurants up to Head Chef of 2AA Rosette and Michelin Bib Gourmand Restaurant
HND Professional Cookery
BA Hospitality Business Management
Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland