Chef Name: Scot Paterson
Title: Chef de Cuisine
Awards: MasterChef: The Professionals finalist
How old were you when you started cooking professionally?
I was 16 when I started cooking in a local pub. I had been a kitchen porter there for about a year and they asked me to help in the kitchen. I loved it and just wanted to do it all the time.
What’s your earliest and fondest first memory of food?
I would have to say preparing game and eating a game pie with my mam. My Dad would go shooting on a Saturday and bring home a couple of pheasants or rabbits. We would pluck them, prepare them and then cook them. It was messy but enjoyable.
Which chefs inspire you most and why?
Daniel Humm – I love how simple his food looks, but delivers immense amounts of flavour. I ate at Davies and Brook when it opened and was blown away.
Josh Niland – I love his approach to fish and have implemented a lot of his way of thinking into my own food. There is the potential to reduce wastage when cooking with fish by using these parts in other ways, such as dry ageing to give it different texture and flavour, or creating fish charcuterie.
What are your two favourite cookbooks and why?
I found that Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook by Daniel Humm was a great tool for ideas and inspiration, and I referred to it a lot when working in the pastry section.
The Noma Guide to Fermentation by Rene Redzepi and David Zilber is like a bible for fermentation and I was able to learn a lot and try new things after reading this book. I really enjoyed learning this aspect of cooking, especially learning to be patient as part of the process. My favourite thing I made as a result was fermented black apples – they were incredible.
Which two ingredients could you not live without?
Salt and vinegar. Always important.
What is your favourite comfort food to cook at home?
A Sunday roast. I love all the processes involved in making it and eating it as a family.
If you could eat at any Michelin star restaurant in the world today, where would it be and why?
Restaurant Sat Bains – I love Sat Bains’ ever-changing menu, his thought process when creating a dish and of course the focus being on flavour.
And who would you take as your guest?
I would take my wife as she is such a massive foodie I couldn’t enjoy it without sharing it with her.
What do you look for in a good chef?
A passion for cooking and food are obviously important, but what I also really value is someone with a bit of banter. We spend so long in the kitchen each day that being able to have a laugh is just as important as taking the job seriously.
What advice would you give to chefs starting their career paths now?
Always stay teachable, work out what your strengths are in the kitchen, surround yourself with people who you like, and don’t give up when it gets hard.
How has the pandemic affected your restaurant? And how did you adapt and evolve throughout?
The industry as a whole has changed, and it’s been great to see this change. Working in a hotel restaurant in The Shard, we had the opportunity to adapt to the “new normal” and have planned some great new concepts for TĪNG Restaurant, which is very exciting.
Can you share any wisdom from the experience so far with others? Have you changed? Has your cooking changed?
The best advice I can give to chefs based on my own experience is to stick with the job you are in when it gets tough. I learnt more about myself through this experience and while it can be challenging, it’s very rewarding in the end.
I have definitely changed from when I started in the kitchen. I think every job I have been in has moulded me into the chef I am now.
My cooking is always changing and I am always adapting to new ideas and techniques. I love being creative and trying new ideas such as modernising old recipes and learning from my team and other chefs.
Chef Scot Paterson is Chef de Cuisine at TĪNG Restaurant
Address: Level 35, Shangri-La, The Shard, London
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 234 8108
Instagram: @scot_paterson_ & @tinglondon