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Spotlight on: Head Chef Craig Brown

Chef Craig Brown

Let’s step into The Buttery kitchen, where some of Glasgow’s gastronomic delights
are prepared under the expert guidance of Head Chef Craig Brown.
With a passion for culinary excellence, Chef Craig has been an integral part of the
team for months (and years, more on this later) delighting diners with his exciting
creations.

In this spotlight blog, we delve into the journey, from his early cooking experiences to
his current role at The Buttery, exploring the inspirations and influences that have
shaped his career.

Where it all began…

Craig’s early culinary fascination began when he was attending school.
He noted that, ‘I didn’t know what I wanted to do but always had an interest in
cooking. I wasn’t necessarily academic but thrived in home economics, loved it.’
These early classes shaped the passion Craig had for cooking, and when a Kitchen
Porter opportunity came up at our former Head Chef Stephen Johnson’s restaurant,
he jumped at the chance.

It is probably wise to inform you at this point, Stephen was always called ‘Chef’ by
the team. Anyone calling him by his name would be met with a resounding ‘WHO?!’
by his loyal kitchen brigade.

Chef Craig Brown in The Buttery Kitchen

The position was initially only meant to be during the festive period, but in January,
he was queried by Chef about his long-term career plans and was subsequently
asked to stick around.

In the following eight years, Craig’s role and responsibilities evolved, moving onto
kitchen prep, with him eventually becoming the Junior Sous Chef, assisting with

everything from starters and sweets to pizza and pasta and later assisting in the
fine-dining kitchen.

Craig noted that while much of his training was done on the job, he gained all of his
certifications and qualifications through MI Technology. He was taught by his mentor,
Chef, who would ultimately sign off on everything.

Next steps

Following on from Craig’s time at Lux and Statzione, he went on to work at some
iconic venues around Scotland. His first being Barbarossa in the Southside of
Glasgow, holding the position of Senior Chef de Partie.

Following this, Craig worked with us at The Buttery as Sous Chef, overseeing a
kitchen team of thirteen at the time, across our main dining room and downstairs in
the former bistro, The Shandon Belles.

He then moved onto a more senior role, assuming the position of Head Chef at the
prestigious Williamwood Golf Club. Here, Craig worked alongside another one of his
inspirations, Chef Patron Andrew Beattie. He noted that this role was ‘a great step up
my career ladder, giving me my first taste of what it is like to be the Head Chef.’
The role involved lots of new responsibilities, including menu curation, sourcing the
highest quality ingredients and outside catering too.

Chef Craig Brown outside The Buttery

Craig then went on to work in other senior positions including stints at Where The
Monkey Sleeps, The Marine Hotel in Troon, G1 Group and Barolo Bar and Grill.
Prior to returning to our kitchen, Craig began cooking at the iconic One Devonshire
Gardens
, holding the role of Sous Chef, working underneath Gary Townsend. The

three AA rosette, Michelin recommended venue was one that he learned a
significant portion of his culinary craft from, noting that the work was ‘very
challenging, but also very rewarding.’

He also told us that in his time there, they took the restaurant from a
two-rosette to a three-rosette awarded establishment.

When asked what his favourite dish was, Craig instantly replied: ‘the halibut with
green and yellow courgette. It was difficult to prepare as the courgette slices were
made to look like scales, but boy was it worth it.’

Craig’s culinary style and signature dish

When asked about his culinary style, Craig had noted he felt it was quite hard to
define. He tends to cook a lot of different cuisines and has done across many of his
roles. But, the one thing that has remained a constant is using the finest Scottish
ingredients.

So, we guess you could sum it up to: good, honest, uncomplicated dishes. Cooked
and presented well, prepared with high quality Scottish ingredients.

Craig notes that it would be difficult to choose a signature dish of his, but if he had to,
he says it would always be something with halibut. His favourite dish of the moment
is one that actually features on a recent menu of ours – West Coast halibut with a
Champagne beurre blanc, crushed potatoes, spinach, keta and caviar.

Craig mentioned that ‘every element just works so well together here, this easily has to be
one of my current favourite dishes.’

West Coast Halibut with a Champagne beurre blanc

Transition to The Buttery

Following on from Craig’s most recent position in One Devonshire Gardens, he
joined us at The Buttery at the end of last summer.

Craig has been a part of the team on-and-off since the age of 24. When asked what
made him want to take on the role of Head Chef with us, he notes that ‘I have been a
part of the business and worked alongside Chef for decades, so it seemed like the
natural progression to step into the role following his retirement.’

He also stated that ‘the idea of cooking top-quality Scottish ingredients, namely
seafood and game, was a no-brainer for me.’

Craig knew this role was going to be a big challenge, heading up one of the most
reputable restaurants in the city, but wanted to take on the next stage in his career
and, as he puts it, ‘step up to the plate, if you will.’

When asked what the biggest highlight of returning to The Buttery was, he stated
that ‘it had to be joining a team that I have already worked with before. It’s all about
the team here. If it wasn’t for them, it just wouldn’t work.’
Culinary inspirations

All chefs have someone or something that inspired them to start cooking. Without
this, we would have nothing to aspire to. When asked what Craig’s biggest
inspiration was, he simply replied ‘it has to be Chef.’

Our former skipper Stephen Johnson was a huge influence in Craig’s career. He
notes that ‘his training was invaluable, throughout my whole career, Chef has been
there in some capacity. He was always happy to see me progress and has truly set
me up for life.’

“Craig started with me at Lux and Stazione at the age of seventeen. I’ve followed
his career ever since, working with him in many kitchens over the years. Craig
has invaluable experience in the hospitality industry and has worked in some of the
most prestigious hotels and restaurants around Scotland.

Handing over the reins of The Buttery kitchen to him gave me great pleasure and
pride. It was so great to see someone that started with me all those years ago turn
into such an excellent chef and fill the position.” – Chef

Future aspirations

Without turning this article into a job interview with the age-old ‘where do you see
yourself in five years’, we wanted to pinpoint some of Craig’s future aspirations for
The Buttery and find out his vision for Glasgow’s oldest restaurant.

He noted that ‘I would like to see the restaurant pick up some awards or accolades.
The food has kept our guests coming back for years, so I don’t want to change too
much. I plan on maintaining the high standards of dishes. Adapting this, and
potentially adding some contemporary twists without losing touch with the classic
culinary style.’

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