Meet the National Chef of the Year semi-finalist: Derek Johnstone


It’s almost time for ten chefs to battle it out in the first heat of National Chef of the Year 2018. How are the chefs feeling ahead of the competition at Sheffield College? We chatted to Derek Johnstone, head chef, from Borthwick Castle to get his thoughts on the event.

Tell us how you first heard about the competition and what attracted you to enter?
All chefs within the hospitality industry are familiar with the National Chef of the Year competition. It is well-known for being one of the most challenging and prestigious cooking competitions in the UK, so I decided to enter for a new experience and challenge.

Where were you when you first discovered you had made it into the National Chef of the Year semi-finals?  

I was cooking lunch for an American family on a private estate in Scotland when I received a telephone call from Borthwick Castle to let me know that I was successful in getting to the semi-finals.

How are you preparing for the next stage of the competition?

I have just been practising my dishes and trying to work on my timings. I will be practicing right up until the cook-off on the 12th of June.  

Who has been your biggest inspiration in your career so far?
Albert Roux OBE

Which part of the menu are you most looking forward to serving up and what was your inspiration for this dish?

I am looking forward to serving the whole menu to be honest. The seasonal produce is wonderful just now so I am really excited about using it.

How will you feel if your name is called out as a finalist?

It would be a fantastic achievement to reach the final and I would be delighted if I was successful.

Tell us something that followers of the competition may not already know about you.

I was the first winner of BBC MasterChef the Professionals in 2008.

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