Chef’s special: Paul O’Donnell

Paul O’Donnell, Head chef, Gean House, Alloa


Gean House, in Alloa, is a popular wedding and event venue. Paul O’Donnell heads the kitchen at the venue, which offers bespoke menus and buffets for events, as well as operating an outside catering service.

How long have you been in the catering business?
I started in 1987 at Underwood Lockhouse, working under Archie Bell, who was in the British Culinary Team.

What’s your catering highlight so far?
Working at Gean House. It’s a beautiful place to work and the staff are great.

How would you describe your food?
Modern Scottish using seasonal produce.

What’s the price of a typical three course meal (without wine)?

Describe your staff?
Friendly, committed and professional.

What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?
Simple food that’s healthy and from scratch.

Is there any food you dislike?

What’s your favourite wine?
Cooking wine; I personally don’t like wine.

Which is your favourite Scottish restaurant?
The Wee Restaurant in North Queensferry.

What’s your favourite Scottish ingredient?
Stornoway Black Pudding.

What makes a good chef?
Being hard working, motivated and inventive.

What’s a tip every chef should know?
Use what’s in season.

Who do you admire in the industry and why?
Willie Pike, his sugar work is amazing and he’s a really nice guy.

How do you relax outside of work?
Running, going to the gym and eating out.

What makes you laugh in the kitchen?
Mostly the everyday banter.

Who would you invite for your ideal meal and where would you go?
My wife and kids and we would go to Chop Chop in Leith.