Fife’s Jack Coghill highly commended in Young Chef of the Year award

Jack Coghill

On his first time of entering, Jack Coghill, the 24-year-old head chef of Jack ‘O’Bryan’s Bar and Kitchen in Dunfermline, has received a Highly Commended Award in the Scottish Excellence Young Chef of the Year Award.

Jack, who covers every discipline within the kitchen of his family-run restaurant, along with being a skilled pastry chef and chocolatier, has also been approached by Sainsbury’s to have two of his desserts featured in the June edition of the Sainsbury’s magazine.

Commenting on the Excellence Awards, Jack said: “I am delighted to receive this Highly Commended Award for Young Chef of the Year, all the more so since I have learned that Highly Commended is a category that is not always given out.

“The judges can choose a winner from the shortlist, with the other chefs on it receiving nothing all at, so it’s really nice to find out that they wanted to acknowledge just where I have got to in my career at this age.

“These awards really mean something because they are judged by other chefs, together with a wide range of industry professionals,” said Jack. “I was up against two very talented young chefs. It’s been really tough for young chefs since the pandemic. We’ve all had to work extra hard to catch up on training, mentoring, and all sorts of opportunities.”

Jack, who was trained and mentored by pastry chef Mark Tilling, said that it had been ‘a very good week’ for him as the award coincided with the approach by Sainsbury’s, which will see two of his recipes – a burnt basque cheesecake, and a BBQ Cinnamon Pineapple – highlighted nationally.

“They had read a lot of the recent press on myself as Scotland’s answer to Willy Wonka, and also how I work with my dad, and that he was my original mentor and teacher,” explained Jack.

“They have a Father’s Day feature coming up in June and wanted to run some recipes from me that are meaningful to Dad and myself. It was a perfect fit for me, enabling me to talk about how I was brought up in Spain and Portugal where our family had other restaurants and hotels.

“The food of the Iberian region is a shared passion between Dad and myself. The two desserts I have chosen reflect that, as well as being summery and colourful. Not forgetting it was dad that originally encouraged me to study pastry, which is a challenging discipline, as he wanted me to really push myself. Let’s just say, I am so glad he did!”

The family’s future plans include the launch of a second restaurant, while dad Bryan steps back to write a family cookbook.