LIFE has been a little strange for Gary Maclean, City of Glasgow lecturer, dad of five and talented chef, since he won one of the UK’s biggest television foodie prizes.

“Getting recognised on the street is very weird,” he admits with a laugh. “In Glasgow, it’s more understandable I suppose but I’m still not used to complete strangers asking me for selfies on the London tube….”

Gary, 45, was crowned Masterchef: The Professionals winner in December, pipping to the post 47 other chefs over seven weeks of competition.

In the final, which included making dinner for 28 Michelin-starred chefs, his razor clams, Highland roe deer and chocolate pistachio ganache triumphed over dishes from his closest rivals Elly Wentworth and Matt Healy.

Cookery fans will get a chance to hear and see Gary in action next week at ScotHot, the popular food, drink, hospitality and tourism trade show which comes to the SECC on March 15 and 16.

Gary will be one of eight Michelin or awardwinning chefs taking to the demo stage – but don’t expect a boring lecture.

“I would always encourage some banter at these events,” he grins.

“Who wants to sit and listen to some dreary old talk? Nah, it will be interactive and hopefully interesting for people.

“i’ll be doing the smoked roe deer dish I did for the Masterchef final.”

ScotHot is just one of many events Gary is supporting in the coming months and he admits, almost apologetically, that he has had to hire an agent to help him.

“My head is pickled with it all,” he sighs.

“It’s great, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to do this on my own. My agent is fantastic and has helped me sort through it all. I absolutely believe without them I would have missed so many great opportunities – it’s been a godsend.”

As well as spots in trade shows, pop-up festivals up and down the country and interviews for radio and TV, Gary is also in demand for charity events.

“I haven’t quite been asked to do Strictly yet or go into the jungle, but I’m ready for it,” he jokes. “It’s all going on. I’m in Stirling soon, then Inverness – I have no idea where I’ll be after that, it’s crazy.”

Outside the whirlwind of media interest, life continues as normal for Gary in his ‘day job’ – as senior chef lecturer at the City of Glasgow College.

“The first day back after the show was fun – the students had decorated my room and presented me with their own trophy, which was great,” he smiles.

“But apart from that, it’s the same as usual. I’m just the same as usual too – I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s been great for the college too. At the heart of everything I do are the students. We want them to be inspired but also to know that it’s not always about flash jobs in celebrity restaurants or television fame, or heading down to London to work for Gordon Ramsay – we want them to be inspired to get out there and get the jobs they want, be the best they can be.”

Gary admits he would love to see more Scottish chefs on television.

“There’s a huge imbalance, don’t you think? When you consider the Scottish food scene and the number of world class restaurants we have up here, Scottish chefs are definitely under-represented,” he says.

“Take something like Saturday Kitchen - we have some amazing chefs in Scotland who would be fantastic on that programme. Young people coming into the industry need to see their role models.”

Gary’s own role models growing up were big names like Anton Mossiman and the Roux brothers.

“But back then, you didn’t have so many cookery programmes and celebrity chefs didn’t really exist,” he says. “If you wanted to see a famous chef you had to go to their restaurant in London or buy their book.

“I used to buy the books.”

Gary took up cooking, he says, because he “wasn’t good at anything else.”

He adds: “School was a bit of a chore for me - the only things I loved were home economics and drama.

“It was the mid-80s - our main objective was to get out and get a job.

“I didn’t think you could get a job as a chef, to be honest - it seemed incredible that someone would actually pay you to cook.”

He explains: “I loved cooking and I knew I had found something I was quite good at, so I decided to go for it.”

Gary trained at Glasgow Food Tech, which is now part of City of Glasgow College.

“I share an office with my old lecturer,” he smiles. “i love being in Glasgow - I thought about moving to America before, to work for Disney.

“They are an incredibly family-focussed employer and I knew that if I was transporting my wife and kids halfway round the world, it would have to be right for them too.

“Sharon and I also talked about going to France at one point but neither opportunity really came to anything.”

Gary has travelled extensively too - Italy, New York and Guernsey being some of the highlights, but he remains proud to stay and work in Glasgow.

“I love the lifestyle here and the restaurant scene is amazing,” he says.

“I could have rhymed off all the head chefs at all the top restaurants in this city five years ago but now it’s impossible to keep up.

“It’s a fantastic time for the industry and especially for our students are there are so many opportunities for them now.”

He adds: “It’s fantastic - it feels like we are on the crest of a wave.”

ScotHot takes place at the SECC on March 15 and 16. For more information visit