Head Chef, John Wilson, Glenmorangie House

What inspired you to become a chef?

Although it wasn’t my initial choice of career, I have always had an interest in cooking. After working front of house in a local Fort William hotel, I got an opportunity in the kitchen and have never looked back. As my experience has grown, so too has my passion to explore all levels of cooking.

What do you find most satisfying about your work?

No day is the ever the same. Working for the Glenmorangie company allows me to promote the finest ingredients that the Scottish larder has to offer to people from all over the world, whilst also developing food pairing with both our current and upcoming whiskies.

And least?

At times, the paperwork side, even though it has to be done!

Is there a chef you particularly admire, and if so why?

I have a few, mainly for the different approach that they have taken, creating new trends in modern day cooking.

Heston Blumenthal for introducing the science aspect into normal cooking. Tom Kerridge for showing that you can achieve Michelin stars away from fine dining by cooking great produce simply. The Roux family for highlighting the importance of classical cooking and techniques that are still vital skills for every chef to learn.

Is there any aspect of the contemporary food scene that you find especially irritating?

Chefs can sometimes get carried away with the props they use to serve their dishes. Give me a simple, clean white plate any day!

What would be your perfect dinner?

Natural local produce, well cooked with nice wines and finished off with a Glenmorangie Signet or two, although any dinner that someone else has cooked for me appeals too.

Are there any food critics whose opinions you respect, and if so why?

Whilst there are some fantastic writers out there, my mindset is that every guest we have is,
and will be, my biggest critic, so we have to deliver an unforgettable experience to them.

What’s the most important thing to bear in mind when cooking your recipes at home?

There are so many variables when it comes
to cooking, so don’t be too perturbed if it doesn’t come out exactly like the picture. Have fun through the cooking process, and feel free to tweak the recipe to suit your own tastes, putting your own twist on it. Your taste buds, and your guests, will give you advice on your level of success!

Glenmorangie House