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Jonnie Ferguson

Junior Sous Chef, The Glenturret Lalique Restaurant & Roux Scholarship winner 2022.

  • What was your favourite subject at school? 
    I quite liked Physics at school, at the same time I loved anything in the Tech department. Graph Comm and Woodwork were always good fun.
    Home Economics would be the obvious answer but there was never really that great an emphasis on it in school and that is something I’d love to see change in the future. It’s so important people leave school knowing how to cook to a decent standard.  
  • What was your first job? 
    My first job was a move down to London, when I was 17 I left school and went to work at a restaurant called Trinity in Clapham in conjunction with Bournemouth and Poole College. To be totally honest I struggled massively with moving to London at that age and never really settled. I moved back after about 8 months and ended up working at Cail Bruich in Glasgow. I personally don’t think London is the be all and end all in terms of hospitality jobs, and don’t ever see myself working or living down there again. I’m at my happiest working somewhere that’s either in the countryside or a short drive away. 
  • Which is your favourite restaurant /hotel?
    Gleneagles will always hold a special place in my heart after the length of time I spent there. Having said that if I could go anywhere in the world, it would be Les Prés d´Eugénie. The grounds that the hotel and restaurants are on is like a 3 Michelin Starred, grown up Center Parcs, and to be honest I can’t think of anything better.
    Restaurant wise, if I had one meal left on earth it would probably be at Epicure in Le Bristol Hotel, Paris. Dinner there was one of the truly mind-blowing experiences I’ve had in a restaurant. 
  • How do you inspire your team 
    I think given the position I’m in right now (Junior Sous) it’s a funny one to answer, but I aim to always be honest and consistent in everything I do. That goes beyond just kitchen “mise en place” too, it could be talking to suppliers, speaking to guests or passing on knowledge to newer members of the team, setting the right examples.  
  • Which person in hospitality have you most admired / inspired you?
    Stephen McLaughlin at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie has been an amazing mentor and friend. The vast majority of the cookery skills I possess is down to him, and that is something I’m hugely grateful for. Stevie passed on a tremendous amount of knowledge and really helped develop me into the cook I am now over the almost 5 years I spent working for him.
    Mark Donald, my current Head Chef, deserves a mention too. I can safely say I’ve never met someone that works as hard as he does, and that is something that motivates me hugely. Seeing the person who is effectively your leader put in a shift too really helps drive the whole team forward. 
  • How do you manage your stress levels?
    When I get home, I quite enjoy playing a bit of guitar to unwind. I always need a good hour or so after a shift before I think about sleep, the mind is always too busy and I think it’s really important to have some kind of routine after work. If I’m really stressed or concerned about something this is usually the time of night that I’d drop someone a text, most people I know or have worked with in the past are finishing their working day too… Sometimes just a quick back and forth settles down what seemed like a huge issue. 
  • Instagram, Twitter or Facebook – and why?
    I use all three but lean more towards Instagram. It’s just the easiest one to quickly swipe through then put the phone down. I tend to post more myself on Instagram too, I just find it a bit more interesting and it’s nice to see what else is going on within hospitality. 
  • If you had not gone into hospitality, where do you
    think you would be now? 
    I was very close to going to Uni to study Dentistry! Apparently a 9-5 and lots of time for hobbies wasn’t appealing back then… I do feel like I miss out on that kind of thing at times but my job and career has been so rewarding that for me it more than makes up for that. 
  • What did you do on your last days off?
    Slept! Like most restaurants nowadays staff shortages are proving testing and it felt great to just have a chill day in front of the tv and cook some nice food for myself. I’m quite a sociable person but sometimes I love to just relax in my own space. 
  • What do you do to relax, to support your wellbeing? 
    Golf is my go-to escape from anything that’s on my mind. It’s one of the only ways I can properly switch off for 4 hours or so and really relax. I’m a pretty average golfer but I find it so peaceful and a brilliant way to just enjoy being outdoors.