Two talented Bo’ness chefs are heading to Germany to play a major role in the attempt to bring culinary glory to Scotland.
But as they get set to pack their gear for a memorable trip to Erfurt the pair are still musing about the fact that both were chosen for the national chefs’ team completely separately.
Gareth said: “We know each other well and even worked in the same restaurant for a while, but we found out totally by chance we’d both been picked for the national squad.”
He added: “It is a fantastic opportunity to show what we’re capable of.
“We’ll be preparing a huge banquet for a major function, and as the Scottish entry – which is always popular at the competition – it’s going to have to be nothing but the best.”
Both men already have full careers behind them, both in restaurants and, in Gary’s case, contract catering.
But while their skills have earned plenty of praise in the past they are amazed that the panel who choose team members were able to select two contenders from Bo’ness.
Gary said his inspiration for cookery stretches all the way back to watching his mum make tablet, when he was a child.
These days he has a fascination and an expertise for game cookery – and has even hunted and prepared his own game produce.
“People are obviously looking for the very best at the Culinary Olympics, and getting the right sort of produce to work on is essential”, he says.
He dismisses any notion that the contest is anything like “Masterchef”, as the gruelling routine see chefs slaving through the stages of preparation to completion over many hours.
They are in charge of delivering a finished product that has to be the very best their country has to offer – and are culinary ambassadors as much as contestants.
However they do get to stay in excellent hotel accommodation during their tour, and, win or lose, will have added another string to their bows, career-wise, by the time they return home.