Acorn Winner 2006: Stephen McLaughlin

27 April 2006
Acorn Winner 2006: Stephen McLaughlin

Stephen McLaughlin
Age: 29
Position: Senior sous chef, Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, Auchterarder

Career to date… McLaughlin has worked with Scotland's newly-crowned two-Michelin-starred chef, Andrew Fairlie, for nearly 10 years, joining the brigade at One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow at the age of 20 as a second commis chef. Over the years at Devonshire Gardens, and since he has moved with Fairlie to the restaurant at Gleneagles, he has gained knowledge of how to manage a kitchen and its team as well as furthering his culinary knowledge, progressing to his current position of senior sous chef.

During holidays, and often unpaid, he has completed stages in other kitchens including Le Gavroche and the Waterside Inn.

Why is he a winner? McLaughlin is a linchpin of Fairlie's brigade. At One Devonshire Gardens, he helped gain a Michelin star for the restaurant, helping his head chef to turn around a £70,000 loss into a £160,000 profit in a difficult market. When Fairlie moved to Gleneagles to open his own restaurant, McLaughlin played a key role in decisions on kitchen design, setting up suppliers, recruitment and the menu format.

He has taken on board the training of young chefs joining the brigade, taught himself IT skills, learnt about employment and hygiene law, and now runs the kitchen on a daily basis - and was instrumental in helping the restaurant to gain two Michelin stars in January.

All these skills were actively sought and acquired by McLaughlin while he continued to hone his culinary craft. He has also maintained links with his old college in Glasgow, and has been responsible for bringing in students to Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles on work placements.

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