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Chef profile

Darren Seggie

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.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up just outside a small town called Blairgowrie in Perthshire, home of the UK’s finest ingredients, in my opinion. 

When did you know you wanted to be a chef?

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. 

What is your favourite food memory?

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. 

What makes you proud to be Scottish?

Produce, people, underdog spirit and the countryside.

Choose three words to describe Scotland?

Underrated, groundbreaking and friendly.

If you were a Scottish movie character, who would you be and why?

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.

What’s the best thing about working at The City of Glasgow College?

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.

What do you most love about your job?

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. 

What do you love the most about competing in culinary competitions?

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.

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What is your proudest food moment?

Representing Scotland in America and winning 5 Gold medals and 1 Silver medal is by far the highlight of my career so far.

What Scottish ingredients are you most passionate about and why?

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.

What is your favourite method of preparing or serving Scottish Salmon?

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. 

Where do you get your inspiration when preparing Scottish Salmon dishes?

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. 

What three ingredients can’t you live without?

Garlic, flour and salt.  The base of any good food for me.

What do you like to eat when you’re at home?

I like to cook a lot of Asian food.  Aromatics like lemongrass, ginger, garlic and spices make food really exciting and interesting for me.

Are there any foods you just don’t like?

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. 

Best piece of advice you would give a home enthusiast?

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.

Best piece of advice you would give to a young person considering a career in cooking?

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.

What does ‘passion’ mean to you?

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 name:

Darren Seggie

Title

Chef Lecturer, City of Glasgow College

Other Achievements

Nations Cup World Champion
IKA Culinary Olympics Silver Medallist
Gold Medallist La Parade de Chefs

Training

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