Acorns 2021: Callum Roberts, 27

28 July 2021
Acorns 2021: Callum Roberts, 27

Estate sous chef, Gleneagles, Auchterarder, Perthshire

Nominator Ian Syme, executive sous chef, Gleneagles

As his job title suggests, Callum Roberts is at the sharp end of a huge culinary operation, managing a 100-strong brigade across six outlets, plus room service for 232 bedrooms and 150,000 private dining covers annually across 10 event spaces.

In 2010, after completing his VRQ level 1-3, Roberts joined the five-red-AA-star hotel's informal Deseo restaurant, working his way up from commis chef to chef de partie, before being appointed sous chef in the hotel's Strathearn restaurant, where he helped maintain its two AA rosettes. He also worked temporarily in the late Andrew Fairlie's two-Michelin-starred kitchen during the 2014 Ryder Cup.

It's been a rigorous training ground and he's held his current position since early 2020, playing a pivotal role in the much-anticipated relaunch of the Strathearn, which included delivering high-profile media events.

Roberts is passionate about sharing knowledge and has given his free time to support junior staff entering competitions, such as the Andrew Fairlie Scholarship, and supported the junior assistant restaurant manager on her way to winning the Gold Service Scholarship in 2020.

Roberts supports HIT Scotland's events and has also established an internship programme that attracts culinary students to Gleneagles on placements from as far afield as North America.

What is the most positive people change you see for your sector post-restrictions?

"Lockdown forced everyone, including chefs, to slow down a gear and brought mental health awareness to the forefront. Worldwide, chefs have often had a "just get on with it" approach to work, and the pandemic has helped to shift that attitude and create a culture where it's OK to ask for help. At Gleneagles there was a fantastic programme of support to encourage us to stay connected, healthy and happy."

Photography: Hospitality Media/Adrian Franklin

Back to the 2021 Acorn Award winners >>

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