Edinburgh chef who has cooked for the Royal Family set to showcase talents on Masterchef: The Professionals
An Edinburgh chef who has cooked for the Royal Family is set to take to the screen as he appears on this year’s Masterchef: The Professionals.
Paul Hood, who has been cooking up a storm for almost 20 years, is set to showcase his talents on the TV show which begins to air on Tuesday.
The 34-year-old originally from Prestonfield had cooking in his blood from a young age, watching his dad - also a chef - in the kitchen before starting his own career at 14.
He worked his way up in the kitchen of Prestonfield House and was mentored by executive head chef Kenny Coltman who he cites as his inspiration and says he wouldn’t be the chef he was today without him.
Chef Hood has since worked in prestigious fine dining kitchens and has been the head chef at the Caledonian’s Pompadour restaurant, and the Dunstane Hotel. He has also worked in the likes of 2AA Rosette French restaurant La Garrigue.
Now, he is executive head chef for Heritage Portfolio and has created menus for prestigious Royal events such as Ascot and the Queen’s Garden Party - and has even cooked a French-inspired menu for a 300-person birthday party for the creator of Minecraft.
“My wife who also works in the hospitality industry has been pushing me for a couple of years to apply for Masterchef,” said Chef Hood, “I was always shouting at the TV out of frustration at the skills challenges when they didn’t know the basics, so I ended off applying for it at the start of the year.
“It was an extensive interview process to see how you cook, what is your cooking style and your personality and it was filmed in July.”
Chef Hood prides himself on his unique use of molecular gastronomy - techniques used to transform food using technical innovations.
He said: “I like molecular cooking and pushing boundaries with what I make, I’m definitely not a safe cook.”
“I love being able to pass on all my knowledge and ideas to my vast team of chefs and create magic on a plate.
"Working for Heritage Portfolio has been a fantastic experience, previously Executive Chef Brian Canale who was the man behind the food and crazy ideas for the first couple of years of my being there showed me the ropes in the event world and together we came up with some extremely exciting concepts and ideas.”
His favourite style is fusion cooking and using top quality Scottish ingredients infused with North African and Asian flavours to create something unique.
Speaking about his experience on Masterchef, he added: “The whole experience was absolutely amazing, just seeing how it’s all done is mind-blowing and how much work and effort is put into it. It's full on and makes you realise who you are as a chef.
“I’d love to see myself with my own place soon, my wife and I would love to be able to come out of this and do some pop ups, but I’d also like to collaborate with the other chefs.”
While Chef Hood wasn’t able to reveal too much about what we could see from him in the upcoming episode - we can expect a wealth of gastronomic surprises and creative cooking which pushes boundaries.
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