Private Chef with Heart and Soul is a Tasting Scotland ‘Local Legend’
Watching it all slip away
This week we’ve been paying tribute to those in Scotland who have done something a little special when the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic began. When lock-down was announced today’s winner should have been gearing up to board a plane. He should have been heading out to the United States to promote Scottish Seafood. Instead he sat and watched his diary empty faster than he can chop a kilo of onions – and that’s fast. Today’s Tasting Scotland Gourmet Journeys & Events #ScotFoodFort20 ‘Local Legend’ crown goes to award-winning Private Chef Mark Heirs.
From millionaires to a ‘bag o’ messages’
Despite the fact that Mark is accustomed to cooking for millionaire’s on their private yachts in gorgeous locations, it perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise that he jumped to help back at home in Stirling. He has the hospitality industry in his blood. His parents owned pubs and restaurants when he was a youngster. Having worked in those he was clear on his career path of becoming a chef from a young age. He learned much from his parents and attended catering college in Glasgow setting the foundations of what was to become a somewhat glitzy career. From One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow he headed south to Heston Blumenthal’s 3 Michelin starred Fat Duck. In 2008, the first series of BBC’s Masterchef the Professionals took place. He made it to the final sixteen. And with it, the start of becoming a regular face on Scottish television and at cookery festivals across the UK.
In 2018 Mark was crowned Private Chef of the Year after taking the decision in 2014 to quit ‘rattling pans’ in the restaurant industry. In exchange he began travelling the globe and cooking for a very exclusive client base. In his time off, Mark is an Ambassador for Miele, the premium kitchen appliance brand and he gives back to the hospitality industry. As an Ambassador for Springboard, the UK’s hospitality charity he supports the secondary school age FutureChef competition. And so too, can he be seen in schools and colleges, where his success encourages the next generation of chefs to follow their dreams.
Why Mark thoroughly deserves this award
During lockdown with an empty diary, he decided to do what he could with what he had. One of the refrigerated deli vans from his parents’ current business was off the road. He got it mended and filled it. Fish, meat, fruit, vegetables, bread, dairy and whatever else he could get his hands on. The small to medium sized suppliers were not short – the restaurants, cafes and bars were all closed. Supermarkets were pretty much out of fresh food and their big suppliers couldn’t supply and deliver as quickly as the smaller businesses could. Remember that month when you couldn’t get a bag of pasta, flour or a tin of tomatoes for love nor money. (I’ll not mention toilet rolls!).
Mark posted a video of what he had was planning on the Thursday afternoon and by Sunday night, it had received 1 Million hits. On the Monday he had 1,500 facebook messages with orders and offers to help. He provided home deliveries 5 days a week to those who could afford it and over the next 6 – 7 weeks provided 5,000 free ‘bags of messages’ with the shopping essentials to those who couldn’t. A number of charities got in touch from around the country and people from as far as Texas wanted to donate money to help out.
Thank you Mark. You’re a legend!
Every year the first two weeks of September are given over to celebrating all that is wonderful, local, delicious and inspirational involving Scottish Food and Drink. From celebrating our world-class cuisine heritage to raising a glass of thanks to the producers, farmers, fisherman, chefs and everyone involved in whatever way, shape or form makes for a fabulous fortnight.
We look forward to hosting our premium tasting events again as soon as possible. Perhaps you have a special occasion coming up that you’d like to mark with a special event. With Mark as your Private Chef, and Tasting Scotland offering something different it could be quite an occasion! Now’s the time to start planning. Something to look forward to, right?