Compere Willie Pike MBE Chef
Willie Pike – Career guide
Willie Pike’s cooking career kicked off in earnest as a commis chef at Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, in 1975. This was followed by stints at the Bath Hotel and Central Hotel in the city, before he made the move to chef de partie at Apsley hotel. By 1981, he was working as a sous chef at Gatsby’s restaurant, where he was promoted to head chef.
Remaining in Glasgow, Pike spent nearly 10 years as chef lecturer and senior lecturer in food production and associated studies at Glasgow College of Food Technology. Willie moved back to the Industry in 1994 as executive Chef of Gardner Merchant Scotland East and after the buy out from Sodexo worked his way up to Executive chef at Sodexo for all the corporate business in the UK cooking for many corporate clients in the U.K. and around the World.
He then moved to the Costley Group in Ayrshire looking after the menus, training and standards within the group ensuring Culinary excellence, profitability and retention of the Groups many accolades including Scotland’s Hotel of the year Lochgreen House hotel and its 3 rosettes in a very busy restaurant.
Willie set up his own chef consultancy business in 2009.
Pike’s talent and commitment has been acknowledged. He has a cache of culinary accolades and awards, including the Caterer and Hotelkeeper best dish in Britain in 1997, 8 gold medals at the Culinary Olympics representing the U.K. and Scotland, the Niata trophy as overall champions (hot Kitchen) at the Culinary World Championships in Singapore. He was part of the British Team that won the World Banqueting championship in Toronto. Domestically Willie was Instrumental in setting up the Sodexo Culinary Team which won the British Cookery championships 5 years in a row which included La parade de chefs and the cold buffet display, his team amassed 118 Gold and 6 silver medal in the 5 years. As an individual Willie has won Gold medals in Pulled Sugar, Desserts and Petite fours to name but a few.
Willie is the Founder of the annual www.scottishchefsconference.co.uk which he set up in 2006 , This year will be the 10th Anniversary being held at the Thistle Hotel in Glasgow on Monday 2ndth November .
The key objective of the conference was to encourage the chefs, improve standards and for all in our Industry to feel comfortable and enjoy the World’s greatest profession.
The Conference was created as a vehicle to -
1. Motivate and excite our chefs, inspiring the youngsters while re-kindling the fire in the more mature.
2. Provide a platform for our chefs to expand their repertoires, acquire knowledge, skills and techniques from some of the most respected Chefs in the World.
3. Gain an awareness of the Suppliers who can support them in their kitchens and businesses.
4. Expand their knowledge of the Suppliers ranges and their latest products and cutting edge innovations.
5. Opportunity to network with fellow Chefs and Suppliers.
Every college in Britain is now invited every year to bring along 10 student chefs who they feel have a future in our Industry to attend the conference free of charge last year we had 750 delegates!!!!!
Some of the World’s greatest Chefs have demonstrated at The Scottish Chefs Conference including – Paco Torreblanca – Tom Kerridge – Gary Jones – Andrew Fairlie – Claire Clark (the French Laundry) Tom Kitchen – Martin Wishart – Jason Atherton – Steven Doherty – Ramon Morato – Bruce Sangster – Daniel Clifford – Nathan Outlaw – Cyrus Todiwalla – Paul Gayler – Phil Howard to name but a few,
Willie cooks the meal for the chefs dinner in the evening with a few fellow Chefs and college students last year to Celebrate the 10th Anniversary he cooked canapés followed by 10 courses and Petite fours for 450 covers !!!!
Willie has cooked for many Distinguished Guests and Dignitaries including the Royal Family and in 2009 at the request of Gordon Ramsay cooked the £500 per head Fund Raising Spina Bifida Dinner in at the Science Centre in Glasgow. To quote Gordon Ramsay “Willie and his team have cooked the most outstanding meal that I have ever eaten anywhere in the world for these numbers” the event raised £118,000 for a very worthy cause.
Said by many as an inspiration to all chefs Willie set out to become the complete professional Chef and has worked hard to gain all the technical cooking skills.
He is totally understanding of the demands of every aspect of the hospitality industry – hotels, banqueting, fine dining, outside catering, pubs, brassieres, restaurants, contract catering, travel and in-flight provision.
He is a respected master craftsman and all-rounder, with specialist skills in pulled and blown sugar, patisserie and chocolate work. In 2009, he became Ambassador for chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut.
He has cooked for many VIPs, but says his greatest challenge was cooking for 500 of his peers at the Craft Guild of Chefs National Chefs Awards (Culinary Oscars) 1997.
He believes in sharing his skills and has featured at many food shows and exhibitions. His recipes have been reproduced in many trade journals and magazines and he was advisor and judge on ITVs Rosemary Shrager’s School for Cooks Programme.
Willie has been recognised by the industry over the years and accolades include
1998 Coveted Red Jacket from the Craft Guild of Chefs as the best competition chef in Britain;
2003 Fellowship of The Master Chefs of Great Britain;
2006 Catering in Scotland (C.I.S) Chef of the Year Award
2007 Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Award.
2008, he was made an MBE by the Queen for his contribution to the hospitality industry.
2014 he won the peoples Award from The Craft Guild of Chefs as voted by all chefs world wide
Looking ahead, Willie has pledged to continue to challenge himself to deliver culinary excellence and innovation while training and developing our Industries future chefs.