24th - 27th May 2024,
SEC Glasgow

Jak O'Donell

Jak O'Donell

From a very early age I remember being sent out to my grannies garden to pull rhubarb or turn the soil for tatties or pick up any apples. I thought this was all pretty hard work... I was 4 at the time! My reward for this hard earned labour was a stick of this crisp tart rhubarb with a wee pokey of sugar made from newspaper. I am sure this is where my love of great home cooking using local produce all began. 

Still rising to the challenges that the wonderful Scottish larder throws me, I never seem to tire of cooking fantastic produce from a country that so expertly grows, rears or cultivates. We have it all here from land, highlands and lowlands to our wonderful larder from the sea. I have always styled my cooking on simple and Scottish and mostly allowing the produce to speak for itself or rather shout. Believe me it’s not difficult! 

Being the Chef patron of my own restaurants gave me a wonderful work ethic of writing my own rules and desire to push forward all of the time. Learning something everyday came naturally in business and helped focus my senior team right down to trainees. Hurdles do appear daily and how you tackle them defined me and the team moving forward. I appeared in my own show in Scotland 'Jak & Eddie’s Scotch Kitchen' for a few years and I’m also a regular on BBC Radio Scotland for up to date kitchen and food chat. Also the opportunity to appear on Great British Menu and get to the finals twice was a definite highlight. I also host the Scottish Chef Podcast which has been live for the past 2 years, plus, I'be had amazing opportunities to speak with phenomenal chefs of our time, encouraging our next generation of talented individuals. 

After retiring from the restaurant industry over the past few years, selling up after 25yrs trading in the West End of Glasgow, I’m carrying on what I do best, cooking with fabulous Scottish produce normally doing small private dinners (no more crazy diary bookings at 8pm on a Saturday night!).

I also teach where I can from corporate team building to inspiring the next generation of cooks and chefs for our wonderful hospitality industry with just enough enthusiasm to spark someone into taking the next step in being part of our wonderful industry.


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