Chef’s Table: The Gannet

It’s time for this month’s Chef’s Table, hooray! This month we’re talking to head chef and co owner of The Gannet, Peter McKenna.

The Gannet is an multi award winning Scottish restaurant in the ever trendy and popular Finnieston area in Glasgow. The menus change with the seasons in order to celebrate the best of Scottish produce. Here’s what Peter had to say…

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Where did you learn to cook?

I formally trained at culinary college in the north west of Ireland, a wee fishing town called Killybegs, but if I’m honest it wasn’t until I left Ireland and started to working in great kitchens from The Netherlands, London,  Sydney, then back to Dublin, that I really started to learn the craft of the kitchen. There isn’t a day goes by that I’m not picking up another idea or technique. That’s what so great about our industry, we get to continually learn and grow!

What’s your earliest food memory?

I was incredibly lucky to grow up in a food orientated household, it will sound very cheesy but my mother and grandmother are and were great cooks. My grandparents had an abundance of vegetables and fruits growing in their garden, and as a kid I used to fish the black water river and whatever we caught would be brought back for my grandmother to prepare, but I would get to cook the catch, very simple food but it doesn’t get any fresher or flavoursome.

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What do you cook at home?

It’s funny, what I really love to cook at home is so simple. My wife, Chala, is vegetarian so I tend to eat the same as her. When I worked as a personal chef to a Saudi prince he loved pasta dishes, his favourite being a tomato based one using lots of light olive oil, whole cloves of garlic and cherry Roma or San marzano tomatoes. We eat this, a lot!

What’s your favourite dish on the current menu?

As you can imagine, my favourite changes all the time! At the moment I’m loving a pork jowl dish that uses organic pork from Peelham farm. We make a rich consommé with the bones, brine and slow cook the Jowl, this is served with large radish ribbons, raw apple, micro shoots, sauerkraut and pork fat – it really is a taste sensation.

If you could eat in any restaurant in the world, what would it be?

I’ve been very lucky when it comes to eating in great restaurants, for me it doesn’t have to be polished as long as the food is tasty. Saying that, being able to eat in Noma twice has been an honour and experiences I will never forget. I would love to go back in time to eat at Harvey’s, where Marco Pierre White was behind the stove and cooking what I believe was astonishing food. I’ve worked for chefs that served in that kitchen and by all accounts it was a different league altogether.

What’s the best thing about being a chef?

It keeps you questioning, which in turn keeps you young. I could never imagine doing anything else, every day has something new in store, it’s not always easy (it rarely is) but it does feed your soul.

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For more information on The Gannet, visit their website here. I’m so excited to go and eat there next week for my birthday now! Make sure to tune in next month to see who’s at the next Chef’s Table…

 

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