He is a former Masterchef winner and has taught Scottish students the cookery trade at a Glasgow college for 14 years.
Mr McLean, who is a senior chef lecturer at the City of Glasgow College, will deliver a programme for government commitment to promote locally sourced, locally produced food and drink as part of his new role, which was created to help take forward plans to make Scotland a “Good Food Nation”.
Mr McLean, who has worked at the college for 14 years, as well as in the kitchens of Glasgow restaurants including Ferrier Richardson’s Yes restaurant and Stefan King’s G1 group, was the 2016 winner of the BBC show MasterChef: The Professionals.
Mr Maclean said: “As a passionate advocate for cooking fresh, nutritious and locally sourced food, I am absolutely delighted to be appointed Scotland’s first national chef.
“I’m sure my passion for education will also help to promote the benefits that Scottish produce can have on a healthy diet and will help to change our relationship with locally sourced and produced food.”
In the new role, Mr McLean will be tasked with celebrating Scottish produce and teaching both members of the public and organisations how to make the most of locally-sourced, healthy, sustainable and affordable food.
Mr McLean previously spoke about how he would “love” to take on the role, when plans to create in were unveiled in April. “I’m passionate about Scottish produce and I don’t think there’s enough education about it,” he said.
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Rural cabinet secretary Fergus Ewing said: “The appointment of Gary Maclean as our national chef will play a central role in celebrating the rich larder of produce that we have available and advocate the use of locally sourced, healthy, sustainable and affordable food. Scotland’s food and drink sector is a global success story and one of the main contributors to our economy. We want to build upon this success by becoming a world leading Good Food Nation.”
The Scottish Government defines a “Good Food Nation” as a country where “people from every walk of life take pride and pleasure in, and benefit from, the food they buy, serve, and eat day by day”.
James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said: “Appointing a National Chef is a real statement on how integral food and drink has become to Scotland’s future.
“Our food and drink sector is a global success story and a £14 billion contributor to the economy.”