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Willie McCurrach OBE

Head of Food, City of Glasgow College. (retired)

We recently had a chat with Willie Mccurrach OBE, recently retired from over 40 years in Further Education at the City of Glasgow College, formerly the “Food Tech” in Glasgow. A trainee with British Transport Hotels and  previous employee at the famous Gleneagles Hotel.

  • What was your favouritesubject at school?

Technical subjects, woodwork, metalwork and technical drawing, boys were not allowed to do home economics in those days but that would have been my favourite subject.

  • What was your first job?

My first job was working on a Tattie lorry in the streets of Aberdeen, I sold fruit, vegetables and eggs on a Saturday and during school holidays worked from 7.30-5.00 for £1.00, used to make double that in tips.

  • Which is your favouriterestaurant /hotel?

My favourite Scottish Hotel would be Gleneagles Hotel having worked there in the past when I go back now it is just like coming home, such a beautiful place amazing views, facilities and the staff are so friendly making your stay so special. Restaurant Andrew Fairlie is always a favourite too, especially the tea smoked lobster dish.

  • How do you inspire your team

Having now retired I no longer have a team to inspire but when I was working, staff were able to work on their own initiative with support and allowed to flourish to do their very best. Entering and supporting Student/pupil competitions were also very high on my agenda, a great way to develop skills and individual self-confidence within your team. Career development is also very important to inspire a team everybody should have a goal to achieve.

  • Which person in hospitality have you most admired / inspired you?

Very difficult question to answer when you have had a career as long as mine, but Albert and Michel Roux, Gary Rhodes, James Martin to name but a few, would be up there with their books and television programmes, but later in my career my students inspire me with their great successes as they grow and develop in our industry, these make me very proud.

  • How do you manage your stress levels?

By trying to switch off when I get home doing something completely different, gardening, pottering about in my workshop or always having a project on the go that I can turn too.

  • Instagram, Twitter or Facebook – and why?

Twitter is my most used social media as it is quick easy and gets to the point quickly. Facebook I do also use but not as freely, I do like their feature of your memories or most viewed picture, it amazes me how do they do that stuff? I have never tried Instagram, am I missing anything?

  • If you had not gone into hospitality, where do you
    think you would be now?

Another tough question but as long as I can remember I always wanted to be a chef and my parents tried very hard to change my mind. My father always made me help him on all DIY projects at home which has grown into a second career, I can turn my hand to do virtually anything when I put my mind to it. So to answer your question, something creative.

  • What did you do on your last days off?

Having retired, every day is a day off now, but recently I have made a small teak garden table to sit beside my garden chair instead of using my step stool. Other jobs will include cleaning cars, filling in potholes in the lane etc. the list is endless.

  • What do you do to relax, to support your wellbeing?

I have been very fortunate in life, good health, a successful career, Iiving in a beautiful part of Scotland, so every day I can just look at my surroundings and what I have achieved relaxing with a glass of wine or a gin and tonic in hand looking at a roaring log burner is very relaxing. During this strange Covid 19 year my surroundings and environment have been very important especially throughout lockdown, which fully supports my wellbeing.