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Derek Johnstone

Derek started cooking at 16 years old after enrolling in a general catering course at Glasgow’s College of Food Technology. In 2008, he became the inaugural BBC MasterChef The Professionals winner which gave him the opportunity to work at Le Gavroche in London under the guidance of Michel Roux Jnr. He continued to work for the Roux family for six years. During this time, he carried out work placements in other Michelin starred restaurants including De Karmeliet, the 3 Michelin star restaurant in Belgium. In 2017, he accepted the position of head chef at Borthwick Castle, a 5-star exclusive hire venue near Edinburgh.

Derek just loves being around food and other people who are equally passionate about it. He looks forward to the change in the seasons when they get to reinvent their dishes and recipes year after year. He also really enjoys developing young chefs, helping them improve and guiding them through their own careers.  

For as long as he can remember, Derek has always wanted to be a chef. As a young boy, he loved watching programmes like Ready Steady Cook and MasterChef and he never thought of doing anything else.

Working for both Michel Roux Jnr and Albert Roux OBE was hugely inspirational for Derek and he learnt and developed enormously during his six years working for them both. He told us: “The most memorable day I have had at work was when I returned from London after winning MasterChef The Professionals and my executive chef and the whole team where waiting for me to arrive back. The support and guidance they gave me will be something I will remember forever.”

Derek entered the competition last year as he felt it was the correct time in his career to put himself forward for such a prestigious competition. Finishing third gave him even more motivation and confidence to return and compete once again.

It would mean a lot to him to win this competition. It is such a tough competition to succeed in and he would be honoured for his cooking to be recognised by such a highly regarded panel of chefs. To succeed as a chef, Derek believes you need perseverance, talent, hard work and commitment. The three words that most describe his style of cooking are delicious, simplistic and dynamic.

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