Chef’s special: Mark Heirs

Mark Heirs, Chef, Manager, Callendar Arms, Falkirk

Mark Heirs

The Callendar Arms in Falkirk re-opened earlier this year following an extensive refurbishment that placed the kitchen at the venue’s heart. Mark Heirs now leads the family run venture, taking the reins from parents Alan and Val Heirs who have leased the ‘Cally Arms’ since 1994.

How long have you been in the catering business?
I’ve been in the industry since I left school. My first chef position was in One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow, but I did start odd jobs in other kitchens when I was about ten.

What’s your career highlight so far?
I have two: getting to the quarter finals of BBC’s Masterchef The Professionals and cooking in the Dorchester for, and dining with, the Duchess of Cornwall.

How would you describe your food?
Modern techniques paired with classic recipes and top quality ingredients.

What’s the price of a typical three course meal?
Three courses at dinner would be about £25.

Why should someone visit your restaurant?
Our food is something out of the ordinary in our area, new tastes to change the way our customers think about food.

Describe your staff.
Passionate, hard working.

What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?
I’m a spice fanatic, everything I eat seems to have harissa on it somewhere.

Is there any food you dislike?
Strangely for a chef I really don’t like mushrooms, which everybody finds bizarre when I tell them.

What’s your favourite wine?
I love ice wines, but I’ve just discovered a Riesling from Chile which will take some beating.

What is your favourite Scottish restaurant?
For the ultimate dining experience hands down Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles.

What’s your favourite Scottish ingredient?
Quite simply pork! I couldn’t live without it, it’s so versatile and the stuff I get from my butcher is second to none.

What makes a good chef?
Keeping cool under pressure and being able to think on your feet.

What’s a tip every chef should know?
Know your limitations, work to the best of your ability and not beyond.

How do you relax outside of work?
I love golf, I’m either playing or spectating when not in the kitchen.

Who do you admire in the industry and why?
The Rouxs: Albert and Michel Snr and their sons Michel Roux Jnr and Alain.