National Chef of the Year finalist- David Nielson

008David Neilson

The National Chef of the Year finalist, David Nielson is currently working at Number One at the Balmoral in Edinburgh. His love of culinary arts started at a young age when he enjoyed cooking with friends and family. Whilst at high school, Home Economics was the only class he looked forward to so David knew it was the career for him. After leaving school, he studied his SVQ2 at Cumbernauld College and then completed an HNC/D at the City of Glasgow College.

One chef who has inspired David throughout his career is Thomas Keller. Bouchon was one of the first books David read whilst training at college and since then all Keller’s books have helped him at different stages of his working life. Social networks such as Instagram and Pinterest also provide him with plenty of inspiration.

David decided to enter National Chef of the Year just nine days before the closing date. It was a spur of the moment decision, having never entered a competition before and he simply fancied the challenge. Winning this title would be amazing for David and provide an exciting new chapter in his career. It would also allow him to feel more confident in himself and his food.

When he first heard his name on the live stream David didn’t believe it was him, assuming there must be another chef with the same name. However, once he had seen it confirmed in the news, he admits to being blown away. He called his parents to share this special moment as his dad had been far more excited than him to find out the results. They were both so proud that he had got to the final. A family barbecue was organised to celebrate, but this had to be a few nights later, due to the typical Scottish weather.

Ahead of the final, David will be spending all his spare time in work researching and developing the food and presentation, as well as organising his equipment and means of transporting it all to The Restaurant Show. His colleagues are so happy that he has reached the finals, recognising what a huge achievement this is.

The three words David would use to describe his style of cooking are modern, clean and natural.


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