One of the main memories of my childhood is of my grandmother, in the kitchen cooking soda bread. She was an excellent baker and a cook who would make the most of what was available. Through her cooking I discovered my love for baking and local produce, something that endures with me to this day.
I came to Glasgow when I was 18, from Derry, and swiftly got swept up in my new found city life. One thing that Glasgow has in abundance - other than nightclubs and football teams - is Indian restaurants: a delicious legacy of the city’s huge Pakistani population. Years spent working my way through these have fed - quite literally - my love for food from both the north and south of India.
Inspired by these new culinary adventures I would spend my weekends (and increasingly, my evenings) working away over a stove or pan. Living in Scotland it soon became apparent why so many view this wonderful country as one of the world's best natural larders. Whether it’s langoustines from the West Coast, pork from the Bridge of Orchy or venison from Roy Bridge, I started to recognise the possibilities that this produce offered when fused with the Asian food that captivated me so much.
There are too many great restaurants in the city to mention, though I would flag up Banana Leaf on Old Dumbarton Road. It's been the best of friends to me over the years, and a real inspiration. I’ll be popping in for one of their delicious dosas until the day I shuffle off this planet! My other local inspiration has been Stravaigin, and its ‘think global, eat local’ mantra is one I’m constantly seeking to emulate.
In May 2015 I got married to my lovely wife Katy. Food on the big day was at the forefront of my mind from the time that we got engaged on Skye. After much thought and deliberation I decided that I would provide my own catering. As if I wasn’t stressed enough! Looking back it was this that really kick started Ginger & Chilli.
Although my heart is with Indian food, I want Ginger & Chilli to be a celebration of all things Asian. I’ve been running pop-up nights in The Drake's beautiful upstairs room since the start of 2016, and in that time I’ve served some unique recipes, including of shoulder of lamb Jaffna, spiced cullen skink with curry leaves and home smoked hake, peat smoke salted caramel ice-cream, venison rendang with lemongrass and sticky coconut chutney. In one night you can expect to travel from Sri Lanka to Penang, via Kerala and Glasgow, without a plane or train in sight.