McLean, who is studying City and Guilds Professional Cookery, Level 2 at New College Lanarkshire’s Cumbernauld campus, picked up the prize at the Scottish Chefs Conference in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre this week in front of hundreds of professional and student chefs, including 84-year-old Albert Roux, whose restaurant Le Gavroche became the first in the UK to win three Michelin stars.
Student chefs from colleges around Scotland were invited to develop a salmon recipe and, after verification by teaching staff, submit their ideas via Instagram. McLean’s baked salmon, creamed spinach and ricotta gnocchi impressed the judges and now he will spend a day in Restaurant Martin Wishart to work with Martin and his team.
The #LoveScottishSalmon competition was sponsored by the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO), which represents Scotland’s salmon farming industry.
Presenting McLean with a certificate, SSPO chief executive Julie Hesketh-Laird said: “The standard of Scottish salmon dishes entered in this year’s #LoveScottishSalmon challenge was outstanding and certainly demonstrated how versatile the UK shoppers’ most popular fish can be.
“As the top food export from Scotland and the UK, the judges liked Paul’s inventive recipe which was a delicious blend of global culinary influences.”
McLean said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have won a day in Restaurant Martin Wishart. It will be a fantastic experience and I’m sure I will find all kinds of new ways to cook salmon, too!”
New College Lanarkshire Hospitality lecturer Tom Devlin said: “Winning the #LoveScottishSalmon competition at the Scottish Chefs Conference is a fantastic achievement for Paul and I’m very proud to be his mentor.”
The Scottish Chefs Conference is an annual event which attracts international speakers and chefs.