Nick Nairn

Doctor of Science, 2016

What does it take to become a Michelin starred chef?

Decades of training? Years of brushing up on the finest points of food and cooking?

Well…not necessarily.

Nick Nairn was awarded an honorary degree by Abertay in 2016, but his rise to the top is one of the most remarkable stories the Scottish culinary scene has to offer.

His career began back in 1986. He’d never been to catering college and had never worked in a restaurant or received any kind of training. Yet he decided to open his own restaurant.

He borrowed tables and chairs and bought a second hand cooker for just £50.

5 years later the self-taught cook became the youngest chef in Scotland to win a Michelin star.

Since then he’s gone on to cook for the Queen, every First Minister and Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher and he’s become one of the country’s best known TV chefs.

He’s also a passionate advocate for Scottish produce, promoting it right around the globe. He’s tirelessly campaigned to encourage healthy eating.

And he does all this while running restaurants and a cooking school.

He’s also planning to return to the university in October to give a cooking masterclass to students.

So what does it take to become a Michelin starred chef?

Passion, and a dream.

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