Chef’s Special: Ross McMillan Head Chef, Old Churches House Hotel, Dunblane

Ross McMillan, head chef at Old Churches House Hotel in Dunblane, ensures the hotel is viewed first and foremost as a true food destination, which offers customers an affordable yet quality dining experience.

How long have you been in the industry and how did you start?

It all started as work experience in November 2006, then I was hired as a commis chef in March 2007 at the Stirling Management Centre, now known as Stirling Court Hotel.

What’s your career highlight so far?

Winning my first junior chef of the year competition in 2009.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?

Taking on my first head chef position at the Royal Hotel in Bridge of Allan in 2015.

How would you describe your restaurant and its food?

I feel the restaurant is warm, cosy and very friendly. The food is exciting and very pleasing on the eye.

Describe your staff

Very charismatic, full of life and friendly.

What’s your favourite Scottish ingredient?

Haggis and Highland venison.

What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?

I enjoy making a good steak pie as I try to make it better than my dad.

Is there any food you dislike?

I’m not the biggest fan of tuna.

What’s your favourite wine?

None, I haven’t developed a taste for wine as of yet.

What makes a good chef?

Someone who can adapt to any situation thrown at them.

What’s a top tip every chef you should know?

Clean as you go, always listen and be aware of everything that is going on.

What makes you laugh in the kitchen?

The people I work with always make me laugh as if they are family.

Who do you admire most in the industry and why?

The person I admire the most is my first executive head chef, Raymond Thomson. Without his guidance and drive I wouldn’t be where I am today.

How do you relax outside of work?

I spend time with my family, girlfriend and my pets.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had and where was it?

The best meal I’ve had was in New York at the Grand Central Station Grill House. I had a lobster bisque, which was packed full of lobster claws and topped with an aged brandy; my main was a 10oz fillet steak topped with fresh crab meat and hollandaise sauce. I would go back there just to have it all again.

Who would you invite for your ideal meal and where would you go?

Very tricky question but for me I would love to have a meal with both my pop and my grandad, who aren’t with me anymore, the reason being I would want to tell them what I have done and achieved – and to thank them both for telling me to chase it and to work hard.