Former MasterChef: The Professionals winner Gary Maclean will host the prestigious The Menu Food and Drink Awards 2020 on March 12 at Dundee’s Apex Hotel.
Preparations for this year’s event are well underway and entries close on Monday January 20 – so there’s still time to shine.
Gary is looking forward to returning to the city to celebrate at the ceremony with the area’s culinary stars.
The event will see six top local chefs preparing mouth-watering courses for the gala dinner.
Gary, who hails from Glasgow, was crowned MasterChef: The Professionals champion in 2016, and has run restaurants and kitchens over the years, as well as being a college lecturer and a mentor to young chefs.
Whilst he is no stranger to awards ceremonies, he takes his hat off to those who host such events on a regular basis: “To be up there, holding it together, keeping everybody on track and maybe getting a bit of a laugh now and then – it’s quite terrifying, to be honest!”
He goes on: “I think my approach is just to be me – and that’s all I can do.”
The most important aspect for Gary is that guests and nominees have an enjoyable time. He says: “I will be there to have a good laugh and to have a good evening.”
Gary is also looking forward to catching up with the local culinary champions who will be serving up dishes on the night.
Those whipping up a storm will be Praveen Kumar, Paul Newman, Martin Hollis, Graham Paulley, Robbie Penman and Sharon Munro.
Gary goes on: “We are a pretty close-knit industry. We do care about other people and we are genuinely happy to see people doing well.
“In Scotland we’re not very good at celebrating how good we actually are and these nights are really important. It’s important to recognise the people who are leading the way and changing the dynamics.”
If you haven’t already entered the prestigious Menu Food and Drink Awards 2020, then fear not. Entries close on Monday January 20 and Gary says you just have to go for it.
“I’ve been involved in competitions for years and years. I’ve won a lot – and lost a lot – but you need to be in it to win it.
“Don’t be reading The Courier the day after the awards thinking you’re better than the person who won, because you need to put your head above the parapet and say ‘look, this is where we are’ and be judged by your peers.”
Not only is the awards ceremony a fantastic night at the newly-refurbished Apex Hotel with the promise of delicious food – it’s also a great opportunity to put your name on the culinary map and shout about your business. And remember, entry is free.
Gary advises: “Grab a coffee, get in front of your computer and get the entry form filled in. It’s half-an-hour of your life.
He adds: “At the very least you’re going to get a good night out, and by the looks of it, it’s going to be spectacular!”
There are 12 categories to choose from, so there’s something to suit anyone involved in the region’s food and drink industry: Chef of the Year; Cocktail and Wine Bar of the Year; Craft Beer of the Year; Craft Distiller of the Year; Entrepreneur of the Year; Food/Drink Visitor Destination of the Year; Independent Coffee Shop of the Year; Newcomer of the Year; Producer of the Year; Pub of the Year; Restaurant of the Year and Street Vendor of the Year.
For more details and to enter the awards, click here.