Two MasterChefs cook up a storm at Dollar Academy

Gary Maclean, winner of MasterChef The Professionals in 2016, recently visited Dollar Academy to give healthy cooking demonstrations and assist boarding pupils as they prepared two meals from his cookery book for their dinner.

Current MasterChef contestant and Dollar Academy history teacher Jilly McCord, who is one of the 12 finalists in this year’s series of the popular cooking competition, dropped in to help out and trade MasterChef stories with Gary.

Named Scotland’s first National Chef, Gary Maclean is a multi-award-winning chef and Senior Lecturer at City of Glasgow College, which drives his passion for mentoring other young chefs and creative cooking. His victory on MasterChef The Professionals was characterised by his creative use of Scottish produce, a cause which he continues to champion.

As well as giving a presentation on healthy cooking, Gary joined Scottish Quality Meats to officially present Dollar Academy with their membership certificate for the Scotch Beef Club – the only school in Scotland to join this society. The Scotch Beef Club is a group of over 300 restaurants and organisations who are proud to serve Scottish red meat industry products.

Following his visit to the school, Gary said: “It is great to see such a wide range of Scottish produce in the fridges within the Dollar kitchen. It is an asset to Dollar to have a chef on hand preparing high quality food for pupils and this emphasises the overall message of health and wellbeing within the school.”

Jilly McCord joined Gary and the pupils for the healthy cooking demonstration and shared details of her MasterChef experience so far. She said: ““The experience is absolutely fantastic, and I have learned a huge amount and met some great people.  It is certainly very exciting to be part of a show I have watched for many years and I have to pinch myself that I am actually part of it. The challenges come thick and fast on MasterChef and I have been pleased so far that my food looks good and I have had mostly positive feedback.”

In the close community of Dollar Academy and the surrounding area, Jilly’s involvement with MasterChef has had a big impact. She continued: “I have been completely blown away by the support from the Dollar Community with day pupils all watching at home with family and the boarding community sitting round and watching together.

I have had former pupils and parents contacting me in the last few days and it has been such a positive experience – just need to keep giving them something to cheer about!  I hope that the pupils of the school use this as inspiration to follow their dreams and not be too scared to do something out of their comfort zone.”