National Chef of the Year finalist- Derek Johnstone
Head chef at Borthwick Castle and The National Chef of the Year finalist, Derek Johnstone was always inquisitive when it came to food. After school he applied for catering college in the hope that it would help get him a job in a professional kitchen and that’s where his successful career began.
Derek studied at Glasgow College of Technology and then worked initially in large 4-star hotels in Scotland. In 2008, he moved to London to work at Le Gavroche in Mayfair and went on to spend six years working with the Roux family in various properties across the UK.
Derek admires many chefs at the moment. With so much talent in the UK he enjoys reading other chefs’ books or following them on social media, and feels it is easier than ever to get inspiration. Alongside that, he also looks at the amazing local produce to guide and shape his new dishes each season.
Whilst The National Chef of the Year is a competition that Derek has always been aware of, he knew it was a big commitment but felt this would be the right year to go for it. For him, this is one of the top cooking competitions in the UK and to win would be an outstanding personal achievement. On hearing he was a finalist, Derek was delighted, especially considering he was in a tough semi-final in Sheffield. In the build-up to the final, he will be practicing his recipes and refining his dishes but is determined to enjoy the experience knowing he’s reached the last stage of such a prestigious competition.
Everyone at Borthwick Castle has been so excited about the competition. Colleagues have been incredibly supportive and there will be a few of the team making the journey with Derek to The Restaurant Show in London to show their support.
The three words which describe Derek’s style of cooking are honest, tasty and dynamic.