In a Nutshell, Chef Dean Parker: ‘I sometimes get up at 4.30am to go kite surfing, it’s the only time I can switch off’

In a Nutshell, Chef Dean Parker: ‘I sometimes get up at 4.30am to go kite surfing, it’s the only time I can switch off’

Dean Parker, from Celentano’s in Glasgow, on his love of kite surfing, why wasting food is the biggest sin a chef can commit and his pride over his sourdough bread recipe.


What’s the closest thing you have to a signature dish: 

Either my sourdough bread recipe, or our malted barley affogato – it’s been on the menu since we opened, and I can’t see that changing any time soon. 

Describe your style of cuisine in ten words: 

Farm to table food, seasonal and sustainably sourced, Italian-inspired.

Best and/or most memorable meal you’ve ever eaten: 

Noma is probably the best I have ever eaten, but the Dairy is definitely the most memorable, when Richard Falk was head chef.

Worst/weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten: 

There’s three that stick out the most – trout sperm, pigs brain and ants with onion. 

Worst thing you’ve ever cooked: 

Probably some sort of staff meal, made using penne pasta, ketchup and Worcester sauce. 

Favourite ingredient (could be an ingredient or spice which transforms dishes): 

Miso to add umami to dishes or fermented black berber chilli for a kick. 

Your go-to recipe book: 

Relae, A Book of Ideas by Christian F Puglisi.

What other country’s cuisine really excites and intrigues you?: 


Your favourite Scottish chef: 

Ian Scaramuzza. I ate at his Bloodshot Supper Club when The Dairy hosted them. I also cooked with him, and it was so inspiring – the way he used ingredients, how organised he was in the kitchen. I would love to eat at his two Michelin Star restaurant. 

Favourite chef outside Scotland:

Rene Redzepi. He is at the forefront of forward thinking and sustainability within cooking.

Who taught you to cook or ignited your passion for food as a youngster: 

Jamie Oliver probably ignited my passion as a young chef from South Africa, watching him on TV. But it was my grandparents who really sparked my love for food and produce during my childhood. 

Most important lesson a young chef can learn: 

You have to be committed. It’s a long journey, and can be really tough. You have to stick things out when the going gets tough. 

Culinary mentor – the most important person in your development as a professional chef: 

Both Robin Gill and Tom Aikens have been instrumental in my development as a chef and my career. 

Best thing about the industry: 

Both the solidarity and the community.

Worst thing about the industry: 

Government taxes vs sustainability – there should be more support, and reduced tax on certain sustainable practices and systems to encourage people to work more sustainably. Also, there needs to be more support for small businesses. 

What’s the biggest sin a chef can commit: 

Wasting food. You should always find a way to use your bi products. 

What do you eat when you’re at home: 

Usually something super simple and I try to be healthy. My favourite go-to is brown rice cooked with miso, loads of veg and spices. Served with some fish. 

Celebrity guest or your perfect dinner party – who would you most like to cook for:

Rene Redzepi and/or Valentine Warner.

Tell me a something about you that virtually no-one knows: 

Kite surfing, I love it. I sometimes get up at 4.30am to go for a sunrise session before work. It is just about the only thing that makes me switch off. It is the best reset button. 

What’s your favourite wine?

I love a dry white sherry. 

Your spirit of choice? 

I enjoy gin in summer but whisky in winter. I also really like tequila if I am making things myself, as it takes on flavours really well when infusing. 

Do you play music in the kitchen and, if so, what’s your go-to track or artist:

Boney M if I’m with the team, and The Cure if I’m alone. 

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be? 

A pro kitesurfer (if I was good enough)!


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