I'm Gary Maclean. I won the 2016 series of MasterChef: the Professionals UK. Feel free to ask me about the show or anything food related.




Comments: 733 • Responses: 83  • Date: 

awake30797 karma

Being MasterChief, do you feel the alliance with the Covenant was worth it or could we have taken the Brutes and the Covenant on by ourselves?

GaryMaclean1063 karma

Left field question. Without the Arbiter's help on Delta Halo, Tartarus would have activated the halo array ending all life in the Universe ending the series at Halo 2. (Answered with help from Ewan my son)

TheBeardedVagabond317 karma

Do you consider hot dogs to be a sandwich?

GaryMaclean925 karma

I am not sure hotdogs are food.

govislnyc297 karma

For the home cook, willing to take extra steps, what are the tips for making restaurant quality, moist grilled or baked chicken breasts at home?

GaryMaclean612 karma

The first thing is to buy the best chicken possible, cheap chicken is full of water and will be poor even if cooked properly. Always buy chicken breast with the skin on this will help keep the moisture in. Pan fry in a very hot pan skin side down until golden, turn over on the non skin side for a few minutes. Finish in a hot oven 200C and cook until it reaches 73-75 C allow to rest before cutting.

govislnyc131 karma

Thank you very much! Do you recommend marinating or prepping the chicken beforehand and if so, how far in advance, i.e. one hour or 24 hours. Thank you, no more follow-up questions :-).

GaryMaclean306 karma

Yes 24 hours marinating will make a huge difference. Avoid citrus and salt if you are going that long. Spices hard herbs and a little good oil are amazing.

LacesOutLocke4 karma

What is that in freedom units?

GaryMaclean17 karma

Usually double

onefortysevenone246 karma

Gary, would you rather have a hand made of ham or an armpit that can dispense sun cream?

The ham grows back over time, and the sun cream can be any factor of your choice but you’ll only be able to squeeze out two bottles worth in a year.

Asking for a friend.

GaryMaclean295 karma

Tough one but being a ginger I think I would need the sun cream first.

Cabut240 karma

Is most of the food eaten on Masterchef cold?

GaryMaclean312 karma

5th Amendment

stephanm22232 karma

Doesn't apply in the UK. Spill the beans, man.

GaryMaclean259 karma

Think about it if you eat your dinner and the door goes. You then get back to it 5 mins later how hot is it. It's always the first question I am asked

marmalade136 karma

TIL it takes approximately two and a half minutes to catch up to a runaway door in the UK

GaryMaclean141 karma

Bet your dinner is still cold

punk_ninja_robot159 karma

What's the worst sandwich you ever eaten and where?

GaryMaclean272 karma

I cant remember the worst sandwich but the best was in a deli in New York.

frashley220 karma

That doesn’t narrow it down at all

Naturevotes125 karma

I ate 2 pears for lunch

GaryMaclean170 karma

It was a proper cornbeef sandwich with a ice cold beer

klaatubarada136 karma

Do you like the massive photo of yourself adorning the side of the college?

GaryMaclean192 karma

Its not my best side, Its very strange going past it everyday but its a great complement from the college that they would stick my mug on their brand new building.

klaatubarada44 karma

It's great, and a good reminder of your accomplishment. On a food note, I find I under cook garlic quite often since I'm concerned with burning it. Any good tips?

GaryMaclean82 karma

Get a garlic crusher and add the garlic as soon as you have moisture in the pan.

I_Luv_Barney108 karma

What can you make from these ingredients?

Old ramen noodles, baking soda, lumpy milk, half of an apple

GaryMaclean440 karma


AdoreDelaska96 karma

Are you aware that you look like Ed Sheeran who’s come back from the future?

GaryMaclean124 karma

Brilliant not too far back I hope

agaminon2285 karma

What's your favourite food?

GaryMaclean132 karma

I am a big fan of Scottish shellfish but when I travel I love trying new things.

agaminon2236 karma

On the subject, do you like spanish food?

GaryMaclean89 karma

I don't know too much about Spanish food, I am going to the south of Spain in January so hopefully I will get to enjoy some local Spanish food and learn a little more about it.

GaryMaclean82 karma

Good night everyone. Thanks for all of your questions. I'll have a look at the unanswered questions later.

squishynurse81 karma

What’s your favorite kind of cheese 🧀?

GaryMaclean121 karma

I am a big fan of cheese. Smoked cheddar cheese works for me. Love cooking with parmesan

emlynb70 karma

How do you stand in front of Monica Galetti for a technical challenge without shitting yourself? Some of her reaction shots would have me crying in apology.

GaryMaclean76 karma

Probably the hardest bit of the whole experience.

somuchdanger62 karma

Loved you in Halo! What do you prefer: cooking, or fighting space aliens to save mankind?

GaryMaclean67 karma

Cooking every time

blackbirdpie62 karma

What is your favourite flavour crisp?

GaryMaclean142 karma

Prawn cocktail. Love crisps too much

sidebarofshame44 karma

I live in Canada and I bloody miss a prawn cocktail crisp. See also Greggs, Lorne sausage, tottie scones and Morton's rolls.

GaryMaclean77 karma

You must be from Glasgow. The only problem travelling the crisps are rubbish

sidebarofshame34 karma

Ha! Close enough! I'd walk over hot coals for a fresh Morton's roll w bacon, potato scone and a fried egg. And don't even get me started on a pizza supper :(

GaryMaclean43 karma

Brilliant in batter or straight in?

Alaskando56 karma

Two questions:

1) What's your quickest, easiest pizza recipe?

2) I substitute out water in pizza recipe for a (low in hops) beer as I feel it adds another layer of taste; is there another way to do this for pizza (besides toppings/sauce)?

GaryMaclean101 karma

The best pizza is not quick. I think the best base is aged for a few days.

Interested in your beer pizza. Do you still use yeast

Alaskando68 karma

Yup. I just completely substitute out the water for a light beer (labatt blue is one I'm currently using but I'm no beer expert). Warm it up and add the yeast and sugar. Gives it a very yummy taste. I also throw corn meal and a bit of red pepper corn on the bottom of my pan to give extra texture. Of course I also throw on a garlic butter sauce to help round out that flavoring. Now I'm making myself hungry.

I have a quick pizza recipe that can be made same day (I know traditional pizza dough is a multi day affair) and was curious if you had one. The one I use is good, but does tend to make the dough a bit more fluffy. Which is great too. Sometimes I want a flat, crisp pizza though.

GaryMaclean119 karma

I some times use a foccacia recipe for pizza at home 450g strong flour 300g water 25g fresh yeast 1tsp salt 1tsp sugar . I am going to try the beer pizza sounds greatv

R3alization33 karma

How to become a good cook? Is there a book/series that really leads you from the start on? I have red a lot of books, but they are mainly full of recipes with a few stupid tips here an there.

GaryMaclean102 karma

You are in luck I am writing a book that covers the real basics of cooking from chopping onions to what is the best equipment. It's a book that will not just tell you how but it will cover why. It will be out next October

SheepishGames32 karma

Do you agree well done steak ruins the quality of the meat?

GaryMaclean66 karma

I think it ruins the texture moisture and flavour. Unless it's braised

P0rtal231 karma

Hi Gary! My girlfriend and I cheered for you to win the entire season and we're ecstatic when you did. Congrats on your success!

In your experience as a lecturer, what would you say are the most difficult skills for new cooks to learn?

GaryMaclean54 karma

Remembering to taste the food.

First three rules in cooking taste taste taste

mstorkw30 karma

What is the best way to cook an egg?

GaryMaclean37 karma

Depends what you like

mstorkw24 karma

I mean in your opinion (I feel a professional opinion would benefit my cooking)?

GaryMaclean89 karma

Eggs are one of the most important ingredients we have used in thousands dishes. Each way requires a different way of dealing with the egg. Learning how to poach an egg will give you some understanding of how a egg works

lefthandscrewdriver26 karma

What subs on Reddit do you frequent?

GaryMaclean64 karma

This is the first time on it. But will enjoy looking around

ZenPyx21 karma

Is the show scripted to any extent? Or is everything shot live?

GaryMaclean62 karma

No it's exactly as you see it the timings are real. No stopping or retakes it's a competition that's getting filmed.

originalwombat21 karma

Oh my god! Me and my Boyfriend LOVED you on the show. You are so passionate and loving for your food and your family!

My question is... will Scotland always be home? Or will you venture far out to seek new flavours?

GaryMaclean18 karma

It will always be home. However this year I have been working all over the world.

trkoiz20 karma

How did you feel when you won?

GaryMaclean44 karma

Shocked took a long time for it to sink in even now it's hard to believe it happened

R3alization20 karma

Is basil really getting bitter if I add it to the tomato sauce at the beginning?

GaryMaclean57 karma

Fresh basil always at the end. Dried in a tomato based sauce at the start. Both have very different flavour.

godzilla512319 karma

Very important question, Gary:

What do you consider the best spices to go with steak?

GaryMaclean75 karma

At home I have been using Old Bay seasoning. I discovered it in Maryland earlier this year. Just love it

quinnby12317 karma

Have you any words of advice for an aspiring chef ?

GaryMaclean70 karma

Work in the best places possible don't chase money, work harder and longer than anyone and find a very very understanding other half

ExodiaNecross14 karma

What's a great way to spice up simple scrambled eggs?

GaryMaclean26 karma

Smoked salmon classic hard to beat

dratsaab12 karma

Hi Gary,

Congratulations on winning!

Since seeing Masterchef I have wanted to eat at your Caley restaurant in Glasgow. As it is a student chef place, is the menu yours or the students, and does the food more accurately represent you or the students?

This may be an odd question...

GaryMaclean14 karma

Good question the lecturing staff write the menus most of the time the forth year students write their own. All the food is prepaired and cooked by the students guided buy the staff

elizakittykitty11 karma

Best homemade sauce?

And favorite quick/easy meal to make for yourself?

GaryMaclean25 karma

When I want a quick bite I with zero work it would be salad cheese and cured meats

QuietCurry11 karma

Hi Gary,

What is currently your favourite restaurant in Glasgow and Edinburgh?

GaryMaclean28 karma

The Ox and Finch Glasgow

Kozlow10 karma

Price not a factor, Intermediate level cook, with four-five hours on hand, what do I cook for dinner tonight that I can get the ingredients at a normal supermarket?

GaryMaclean27 karma

Big question. Get into the super market and shop with your eyes and buy the good that looks great. Normally fresh produce that is at the front door is in season and should be st it's best.

chefjonnie10 karma

What do you do.. when you're bored of the position you're in.. And the only way itl get exciting probably involves a step back in position and pay.. but you really can't afford to get paid less?

GaryMaclean23 karma

If you have two days off stage in the best restaurant you can for one day a week. This will give you a real buzz enhance your c.v skills and also help you get a better job on more pay.

treacill9 karma

Hi Gary. Really enjoyed that series. What has changed for you since?

GaryMaclean17 karma

Loads it is an amazing platform and I have worked nonstop to enjoy the opportunity

treacill3 karma

Cool. Has it boosted the college's status? More students applying, that kind of thing?

GaryMaclean12 karma

Yes the college has been great. We are full every year so it can't make an impact. The students are just giving me a bit more banter

Saudj999 karma

Best british dish?

GaryMaclean27 karma

Can't see past a good steak pie

nanoakron7 karma

Steak or steak and kidney?

GaryMaclean25 karma


aslat8 karma

How do these type of shows manage to keep things secret? I mean, when I watch MC which is obviosuly recorded and at the end of one show, they say "next week on MC..."
How do they stop things being leaked?

GaryMaclean18 karma

I think everyone involved knows how important it is that the need of who is going or who wins. Also the press would never print any spoilers.

Lovetennis28 karma

Hi! What are your favorite spice blends to add heat to dishes, without overpowering them?

GaryMaclean16 karma

Dried chilli flake works great. Easy to figure out how much you like.

Wh0rse7 karma

Why has the UK gone crazy for Rapeseed oil all of a sudden?

GaryMaclean21 karma

It's all part of eating local food. Cold pressed rapeseed oil is great.

roidoid6 karma

Haw Gary, I loved you on Masterchef. Proper inspiring and your passion came through everything you did. Did you feel under any pressure after the show to open a restaurant or move away from teaching?

GaryMaclean24 karma

No everyone expects me to open my own restaurant but what people don't know I have spent most of my life opening restaurants. I love working at the college and can make a real difference working with the next generations of chef

Twunky6 karma

Hi Gary! Do Gregg and John stay around the whole time you are cooking or do they disappear for times? Also, did you open up a restaurant in Glasgow? Finally, black pudding or haggis?

GaryMaclean23 karma

John wasn't on my show Greg Marcus and Monica are with you the whole time. I have opened dozens of restaurants in Glasgow over the years but non since winning. Tough one but Haggis

Twunky6 karma

Thanks! Did you learn any great tips, tricks or recipes from Marcus or Monica?

GaryMaclean13 karma

The guys where great they genuinely wanted us all to do our best. Especially when we where cooking away from the MC kitchens

neelr76 karma

What happens to the food not eaten by the judges? Do they just throw it away or something? And in between scenes where you're not filming what do you guys usually do?

GaryMaclean9 karma

The food is usually eaten by the crew. We are in the MC couch room most of the time. We also do loads of interviews

Pope_Khajiit5 karma

Hey Gary, What is a tool you often see in people's home kitchen that is really unnecessary?

GaryMaclean25 karma

Most gadgets in home are under used people should invest on good quality knives.

mintsoda5 karma

Salmon skin facing up or down when baked in a convection oven?

GaryMaclean14 karma

I pan fry skin side down then finish in the oven skin side up

Turbo_Electron5 karma

What's your method for making a cheese omelette?

GaryMaclean17 karma

I cheat cooking omelettes at home I use cool pan bit of butter three eggs no colour let it set a bit in the stove add the cheese and finish under the grill

HouseOfShah5 karma

Bald Ed Sheeran?

GaryMaclean35 karma

I can't sing and am old enough to be his dad. But thanks I might buy a wig


Hi Gary, congratulations with everything! Would you ever use a slow cooker? If so what would you recommend I cook in it?

GaryMaclean14 karma

I used a slow cooker years ago with some good results. I have now changed to a pressure cooker. Much better and no loss of flavours. I use it for everything from stews to curries and soups

heyjessicafleur4 karma

Congratulations, firstly - Is cereal a soup? Secondly, what were you most tedious tasks to complete in any of your dishes over the show?

GaryMaclean8 karma

Making rose crisps in Norway and you might have a good point on the cereal soup question.

Gusvaldo2 karma

Congrats on the win Gary! When you're cooking in the challenges involving feeding hundreds of people, how do you calculate portions and ratios of ingredients? Do the head chefs help?

GaryMaclean6 karma

We didn't have any that involved that many people. But to do it you figure out the recipe for 4 and multiply it up.

dedhed51502 karma

Is being a chef and lack of interest in eating food yourself related?

GaryMaclean11 karma

I think most chefs love eating food but if you have been working 14 hours with the world's best food and tasting all the way coming home to simple food is a change

Smellin-of-troy2 karma

Greg Wallace seems awful. How was it to have to cook for him day in and day out during the competition?

GaryMaclean3 karma

He was the life and soul of the competition

Sortcrap2 karma

Your thoughts on canned steak pies? And also, why canned food in the UK tastes good? (In my opinion)

GaryMaclean6 karma

I have had many a canned steak pies growing up. I also remember sausage rolls in a can?

The_Superfool2 karma

Hi Gary ; my wife and I watched you on Masterchef. I predicted you as the winner on your second appearance.

  1. What's your favourite take on Eggs Benedict? How do you make it really special?

  2. Do Greg and John hate each other?

GaryMaclean5 karma

Poached eggs good ham Hollandaise you can't go far wrong. John wasn't on my show. But I believe Greg and John are very good friends

Go0s32 karma

Despite being the original, do you consiser MasterChef UK as having a much lower talent pool than MasterChef Aus, and that being why the pro versions have a stronger run?

GaryMaclean4 karma

My favourite is the pro UK I love The format skills test is amazing tv to watch The other Aus and US amateur shows keep the contestants much longer the Aus version runs for over 60 episodes so the cooks who get through 20 shows will be learning so much and still have 40 episodes to go before they get to the final our UK show ends at 22.

Dumbsrtuckaj2 karma

Blackberry jus. Yeah or nay?

GaryMaclean2 karma

Can work with game

benmarvin2 karma

Which hamburger emoji is correct, Google's or Apple's?

GaryMaclean4 karma

No idea I don't have a iPhone

benmarvin2 karma

Bun, tomato, cheese, burger, lettuce, bun.


Bun, lettuce, tomato, burger, cheese, bun.

GaryMaclean2 karma

The second one

DairisD1 karma

Does the fact if someone doesn't know how to cook change your opinion on them?

GaryMaclean11 karma

No not at all perfect customer for me as I get paid to teach people to cook

PinkieFRY1 karma


GaryMaclean2 karma

Great amazing venue and amazing local produce

RockyAloha1 karma

Hi Gary, congrats on masterchef!

I suppose my question is, what is more essential in a Scottish breakfast, Lorne sausage or tattie scone?

GaryMaclean4 karma

You need both Lorne or links Lorne wins every time

rusticcobbler1 karma

What is the most boring type of dog?

GaryMaclean11 karma

Not sure but I do like Scooby doo

TheRealLye131 karma

Pizza lunchables or nacho lunchables??????? . Mr. Gary Maclean if that's even you're real name 🤔

GaryMaclean2 karma

I have never had any but if I was pushed it would be pizza.

IminPeru1 karma

If you could cook brunch for anyone in the world, what would you cook? Who would it be? What would you guys talk about?

GaryMaclean5 karma

Lobster salad. Laurel and Hardy old films

AgustinEugenioPlasen0 karma

Hi! can you taste diferent flavour from organic foods? and do yo think the scientist cook is the next evolutio of gastronomy? thanks

GaryMaclean4 karma

That's a tough one. The whole organic debate is very complicated. I admire farmers who go organic but if they are surrounded by non organic farms it must be difficult. On the evolution of food. I don't think so it's not big enough to be a true global change.