Co down chef to learn from master

This week we meet the young chef tak­ing a culi­nary jour­ney, learn about an up mar­ket­gro­cer clos­ing weeks af­ter open­ing and chart a su­per­mar­ket gi­ant’ s re­newed growth

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - Front Page - BY MAR­GARET CAN­NING

ONE of North­ern Ire­land’s youngest culi­nary tal­ents is off to Ed­in­burgh next month for a big ca­reer chal­lenge.

Max Buller (18), who works in the Coach Brasserie in Ban­bridge, is join­ing the kitchen of the Radis­son Blu in the city to pre­pare a fine din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for mem­bers of the Hos­pi­tal­ity In­dus­try Trust Scot­land (HITS).

The Lough­brick­land teenager will be cook­ing un­der chef Gary Ma­clean, win­ner of BBC2 Masterchef: the Pro­fes­sion­als 2016.

Max, a grad­u­ate of the South East­ern Re­gional Col­lege (SERC), said: “The main chal­lenges for me will be keep­ing calm un­der pres­sure and per­form­ing any tasks asked of me to the high­est pos­si­ble stan­dard.”

He’ll also meet the Radis­son Blu man­ager Richard Mayne, who is from Ban­bridge.

My main chal­lenges will be keep­ing calm un­der pres­sure and per­form­ing to the high­est stan­dard

Ateenager from Co Down is to take a culi­nary jour­ney from burg­ers in a Ban­bridge bistro to learn­ing new skills from the win­ner of Masterchef the Pro­fes­sion­als.

Max Buller (18) from Lough­brick­land works as a chef at The Coach brasserie in Ban­bridge but will soon to be tak­ing a trip to Ed­in­burgh.

There, he will be given the op­por­tu­nity to work for three days with the team at the four-star Radis­son Blu — where the gen­eral man­ager is Richard Mayne, also from Ban­bridge.

His chal­lenge will be to help pre­pare din­ner for 60 guests at­tend­ing the Hos­pi­tal­ity In­dus­try Trust Scot­land (HIT) fundrais­ing din­ner on March 9.

Gary Ma­clean, win­ner of Masterchef the Pro­fes­sion­als 2016, will be over­see­ing the set fine din­ing menu pro­duced by head chef Barath Ku­mar and his kitchen team.

Max said his pas­sion for food was in­spired by his mother Elaine’s home-cooked stews, casseroles and home bak­ing, from cakes to Swiss rolls.

His fa­ther Robert is a dairy farmer at Bray Brook Farm in Lough­brick­land. “I have cooked with my own meat from the farm and that’s some­thing I’d like to get more into,” Max said.

He ad­mit­ted to be­ing both ner­vous and ex­cited about hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to work in the same kitchen as Gary Ma­clean and the team at Radis­son Blu Ed­in­burgh. On the first day, he’ll take part in a brief­ing be­fore prep­ping on day two and pre­par­ing din­ner on day three.

“It will be my first time cook­ing for fine din­ing in that type of way, so it’s a mix­ture of worry and ex­cite­ment.

“It’s an ex­tremely ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity for me to learn new things and work with re­ally ex- pe­ri­enced chefs.

“It will be nerve-rack­ing to work with Barath Ku­mar and his award win­ning kitchen team at Radis­son Blue Ed­in­burgh.

“It’s also go­ing to be mind-blow­ing, sim­ply in­cred­i­ble to be shar­ing the same kitchen as Gary Ma­clean, win­ner of Masterchef: the Pro­fes­sion­als 2016. In Ban­bridge, I’m used to pre­par­ing up to 170 cov­ers of tasty brasserie food like pan-fried sea bass, salmon and even burg­ers.

“So be­ing part of the team that will pre­pare the fine din­ing cui­sine for the HIT din­ner on March 9 will be a com­pletely new ex­pe­ri­ence.

“The main chal­lenges for me will be keep­ing calm un­der pres­sure and per­form­ing any tasks asked of me to the high­est pos­si­ble stan­dard.

“It’s go­ing to be an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence and I can’t wait to travel across to Scot­land.”

The young chef, who grad­u­ated from South East­ern Re­gional Col­lege (SERC) in Lis­burn in 2015 with NVQ Pro­fes­sional Cook­ery qual­i­fi­ca­tions, was awarded a merit and third place in the

poul­try cat­e­gory at IFEX 2016 in Belfast.

His mother and fa­ther are friends with Ron­nie Mayne — the fa­ther of Richard Mayne, who also grew up close to Ban­bridge and is now gen­eral man­ager of the Radis­son Blu in Ed­in­burgh.

Max says he en­joys pre­par­ing poul­try, and duck breast is his favourite dish to pre­pare and cook for guests.

While the menu for the HIT fundraiser on March 9 is still be­ing fi­nalised, he may well find him­self help­ing to pre­pare starters that fea­ture pi­geon, crab and hand-dived scal­lops and a main that draws on the finest cuts of lamb.

And he’s hop­ing in the fu­ture to open his own fine din­ing res­tau­rant.

“I re­ally en­joy din­ing in places in North­ern Ire­land like Lough Erne Re­sort & Spa in En­niskillen, as well as OX and the Pheas­ant in An­nahilt.

“But I’d also re­ally like to travel and try out the food in places like South Amer­ica and Aus­tralia, and build my ex­pe­ri­ence as much as pos­si­ble.

“I’d also like to go to Spain and work in a fresh seafood res­tau­rant.”

When at home and on his days off, he en­joys cook­ing for his mother and fa­ther — who he says are both fans of fine din­ing.

Richard Mayne said he is looking for­ward to the pas­sion­ate young chef join­ing his kitchen team in March.

“This is a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity for Max to gain in­valu­able skills and ex­pe­ri­ence in a fast-mov­ing award-win­ning kitchen,” he ex­plained.

“I am cer­tain that Max will rel­ish this unique three-day train­ing op­por­tu­nity and we look for­ward to wel­com­ing him to Ed­in­burgh next month.”

Mr Mayne, who once stud­ied at the Newry Col­lege of Fur­ther & Higher Ed­u­ca­tion, added: “Radis­son Blu Ed­in­burgh is very proud that Gary Ma­clean, win­ner of Masterchef: The Pro­fes­sion­als 2016 has kindly agreed to give his time to sup­port head chef, Barath Ku­mar and men­tor his team as they pre­pare out­stand­ing cui­sine for 60 spe­cial guests dur­ing our HIT fundrais­ing even­ing on March 9.”

Richard’s par­ents, Mar­garet and Ron­nie, have run Greenacres Guest­house in Ban­bridge for 30 years.

HIT Scot­land is a Scot­tish-based char­ity with a mis­sion to as­sist peo­ple to achieve their po­ten­tial within Scot­tish hos­pi­tal­ity.

Since it was founded in 1994, the char­ity has awarded over 1,000 bur­saries and 10,000 schol­ar­ships.

Fine din­ing: Max Buller will be pre­par­ing food at the Radis­son Blu in Ed­in­burgh

Gary Ma­clean, win­ner of Masterchef the Pro­fes­sion­als

Chef Max Buller from Lough­brick­land

The din­ing room at the four-star Radis­son Blu in Ed­in­burgh

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