A RENFREWSHIRE chef is in line to win the UK’s most prestigious culinary title.

Derek Johnstone, from Erskine, is the only Scot to have reached the finals of the National Chef of the Year contest.

After winning the inaugural Masterchef: The Professionals in 2008, Derek went on to work with the likes of Michel Roux Jr to hone his skills.

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Now the head chef at the historic Borthwick Castle in Midlothian, Derek will fight it out against nine other chefs in a bid to clinch a title which has been won by the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Alyn Williams and Mark Sargeant in previous years.

Derek said: “I was delighted to have reached the semi-finals in the National Chef of the Year competition last month, so to have a place in the finals of such a prestigious contest is just wonderful. 

The Gazette: Michel Roux JrMichel Roux Jr

“I’m so proud to be representing Scotland on the national stage, and I’m already looking forward to taking on the challenge of the finals in London this autumn.”

To secure his place in the finals, Derek presented three courses of summer cuisine to judges. His menu consisted of smoked haddock royal with Scottish asparagus and morels, grilled oyster and braised cheek of Hardiesmill’s Aberdeen Angus beef with Borlotti beans, chard and kibbled onions, and Alunga milk chocolate tart with Bunnahabhain whisky butter caramel and Scottish raspberries.

The winner will be crowned at The Restaurant Show at Olympia London on October 1.

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