Brian Maule plating up
The eponymous head of the kitchen team and owner of Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or, the Ayrshire-born chef has just celebrated ten years in business at his Glasgow restaurant on West Regent Street.
Along with other influences, Brian honed his skills working for the Roux brothers. At the age of 24, he was made head chef of Le Gavroche in London looking after a brigade of eighteen chefs.
He returned to his native Scotland in 2001 to open his own restaurant.
As well as the menus in the main dining room, Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or offers private dining facilities; show and dinner packages; cookery demonstrations and wine dinners.
Brian is one of the five top chefs who are each cooking a course at this coming Sunday’s Glasgow Restaurant Association dinner in aid of the Who Gives a Fork campaign to raise money for the Maggie's cancer centres.
There is more info about the gourmet dinner here and you can buy tickets for the event here.
In this Chewin’ the Fat interview, Brian discusses food trends, the contents of his fridge and a piece of kitchen slang which sounds intrguing but is probably best left untranslated.
What got you into cooking to begin with?
I used to help my Mum do the cooking every Sunday and then at school my home economics teacher said there was three week placement at the Skean Dhu. That was my first job in a professional kitchen back in 1985.
Was moving from Scotland to Le Gavroche a massive eye-opener or what you might have expected?
Not really, as I went to Lyon for a year to gain experience before I headed to London. By the time the opportunity at Le Gavroche came up I had a fair idea how hard it was going to be.
Chardon d’Or has just celebrated its tenth birthday. Have your customers tastes changed over that time?
I wouldn’t say that their tastes have changed but, with so many food programmes on the television now, I would say that they maybe make people want to try different things and be more adventurous.
What is your favourite ingredient to work with?
Fish. I really enjoy preparing and cooking fish.
Who cooks at home?
My wife Susan because I’m not there.
What do you like to eat on a night off?
My wife’s dinner.
Which chef has inspired you?
Michel Roux Jnr.
Is there anything you couldn’t eat?
The dining room at Le Chardon d'Or
What has been the most exotic thing you have eaten?
I wouldn’t call it the most exotic but I absolutely love white tuna.
What gadget/utensil can’t you work without?
Ketchup or Maldon sea salt?
You can get anyone in the world to cook you a meal. Who will it be?
Apart from your own establishment, where do you like to eat out?
We don’t get much of a chance to eat out in Glasgow because I am always working. But we try to go to London to visit old friends and eat out. Down there, my favourite place is Le Gavroche. Even though I am biased after working there for so long, I could never tire of eating there!
What is the best thing about being a chef?
Getting to work with all the local produce and also getting to meet a lot of good people over the years!
And the worst?
It will always be the long hours.
What’s been your worst kitchen disaster?
We had a party of twenty in and I had made a vegetable mousse. One of the staff who was working with me put the tray onto a hot plate which made the mousse melt. I had to quickly do another twenty mousse or I might not have had a job to go back to the next day. That was stressful.
Chefs are well known for drinking in moderation but what would you cook for a colleague who was suffering from a hangover?
French toast always works for me.
You’re making a special meal for your wife. What’s cooking?
Susan’s favourite meal is scallops to start followed by fried halibut and then apple tarte tatin.
What is in your fridge at home?
Two eggs, a chicken and three bottles of beer.
What has been your most memorable meal?
At La Tante Claire where Susan and I got engaged.
Tell us your daftest customer complaint?
Easy! A lady ordered vanilla creme brulée, ate it all and then sent back the dish with the complaint that while the brulée was the best she had ever tasted, she couldn’t believe how dirty the dish was. We had to point out that the black specks on the base of the dish were fresh vanilla.
What is your best piece of printable kitchen slang?
It’s the sentence, ‘The Spanish archer is going to be making an appearance soon’.