Flavour Profile Q&A: Peter McKenna of The Gannet, Glasgow

The chef and restaurateur tells us about his favourite foodie destination and first food memories

What’s your favourite ingredient?

Raw, confit, braised, quick fried, or slow cooked for weeks until the amino acids and sugars react resulting in a transformation of colour, texture and flavour. It can only be garlic, the most used ingredient in my house and restaurant.

Do you have a guilty food pleasure?

The burgers from El Perro Negro. I enjoyed their pop-ups so much that Ivan from The Gannet and I got involved and, together with their owner, Nick, opened up a permanent shop.

Tell us about your first food memory?

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I must have been 8 years old and I was spending time during the summer at my grandparents’ home in the village of Emyvale. My older cousin would take me fishing on the backwater for brown trout and pike. Usually what we would catch would be small and thrown back, but if they were a decent size we’d bring our haul back to granny who would have the pleasure of gutting and filleting our catch. Even at that age I had a keen interest in cooking, and my grandparents would allow me to cook the fish but not in the kitchen.

I was resigned to the cooker in the utility shed opposite - a wise decision on their behalf if I remember correctly.

Peter McKenna of The GannetPeter McKenna of The Gannet
Peter McKenna of The Gannet

What’s your favourite Scottish restaurant, deli or cafe?

Edinbane Lodge on the Isle of Skye. It’s a fantastic restaurant run by a good friend of mine. Calum cooks the freshest ingredients the island has to offer with style and flair but without any pretension.

What would be your last supper?

Whatever they have on the menu at the Swedish restaurant Frantzen. I had the pleasure of dining there with a great friend in 2017. It was absolute perfection.

Edinbane LodgeEdinbane Lodge
Edinbane Lodge

Starter or pudding?

Always a starter, in fact I’ve been known to order another starter in place of dessert on occasion.

Do you have any food hates?

Overcooked food - be it meat or vegetables, there is no excuse.

What starters, main and dessert would be served at your dream dinner party and who would you invite?

I’d invite Keith Floyd, Anthony Bourdain, Van Morrison, Aidan Moffat and the comedian Joe Rogan. They’re some serious personalities.

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Our starter would be scallops, razor clams and langoustine, which would be cooked on the bbq, brushed with garlic butter and mopped up with plenty of good bread.

For mains we’d have grouse - cooked pink, and served with rosti potatoes, slow roasted shallots, sauteed girolles and pontack sauce. Pudding would be apple tarte tatin, with malted barley ice cream and a Bowmore 18 Year Old to finish

What's your favourite geographical foodie destination?

The Basque region. When we organise our travel plans there are two deciding factors - the weather (well, we live in Scotland) and the food.

This place always calls me back with its charming personalities, incredible seafood cooked over coals, aged ex dairy cows, pintxo food crawls, cider houses and world class wine poured for reasonable prices. What’s not to love?

The Gannet (1155 Argyle Street, Glasgow) are opening a new restaurant in Edinburgh’s Bonnie & Wild this summer, www.thegannetgla.com

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