THE ROTA ARCHIVE

ARRAN MCCREDIE - THE SOUS CHEF

"IRON BRU. IT'S THE  BEST."

Follow him on Twitter & Instagram @arranmccredie

1. What was your first job in hospitality

I used to be a pot washer in Scotland in a hotel near my house. It’s not a very good hotel. I did it for like 3 months, then one night all my friends went to go play football and it was a choice of going to play football or work, and I just didn’t go back.

2. What is your favourite cuisine to eat – preferably not the one you work in?

I like eating all food.  I like really fancy Michelin star places where everything is really pretty on the plate, and it's probably that actually more than anything.  When you go to a restaurant and there is a tablecloth, I like eating that kind of food.  People call it old fashioned now, you go and eat in a Gordon Ramsay restaurant and it’s all really fancy, I’ve not been to all of them but I like them.  I went to Azurmendi in Spain and they asked you if you would like your water room temperature or cold, stuff like that I like.

3. Which dish do you most associate with childhood?

My Gran does mashed potatoes with boiled ham. That’s the best. 

4. What’s the soundtrack to your first love?

I don’t know, I don’t really associate music with stuff. Or maybe I have never been in love.

5. What do you crave after a long shift?

Beer.

6. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – what do you have?  

Coffee until 10.30/11 and then I have whatever we have for staff food. But I never eat breakfast on my day off.

7. What is your favourite word?

'How' – I saw ‘how’ a lot, because in Scotland ‘how’ can mean ‘why’. So instead of asking someone ‘why?’ I‘ll say ‘how?’. But it doesn’t make sense to someone who doesn’t speak English as their first language, well even for some people who speak English it doesn’t make sense. It really confuses them.

8. If you could go on a culinary extravaganza-eating holiday where would you choose to do so?

I reckon New York City. I want to eat at Per Se more than anywhere else. I have not been and I have heard so much about it because I used to work at Bubbledogs with James Knappet and Sandia Chang and almost every day you hear the word Per Se.  ‘At Per Se they do this’ or ‘At Per Se they do that’ and I just think it would be the best. 

9. All at the same time or coursed out?

Depends where you go.  Depends how many people you are with as well. I think if there is more than two of you than it’s good to get as much out as possible. If it’s like 3 or 4 people than you can get a lot of things.  The more people that are there the more fun it is.

10. What is the one area of working in a restaurant you wish you knew more of?

How you do things on computers, like stock takes and answer the phone and stuff. But I like to cook, my job is to cook, I don’t do any of that other stuff. I’m not really interested in sitting down at a computer, I’d rather be peeling a carrot.

11. What is the best cure for a hangover?

Iron Bru.  It’s the best.

12. You’re allowed one shift drink – what is it?

Probably just be a beer, I like drinking beer quite a lot, but I guess it depends on how the day has been.  If its been a really hard day I could drink some whisky but generally it would just be beer.

13. What is the one thing which guests do that drives you mad?

When they’re rude to people. My friend who is a waiter interrupted someone, well he didn’t interrupt them, the guest was talking and he brought their food over and put it down and the guest was like ‘Excuse me, I’m too important for you to interrupt me’.  If that was my restaurant I would have just asked them to leave.

14. Do you have any rituals during a shift 

Yeah the labels on things in the kitchen.  It really annoys me when they don’t put a label on correctly. The other morning I was really pissed off because there were things without labels in the fridge.  And it just wasn’t organised, you couldn’t fit anything in because there was so much shit in it. The labels have to be perfect.  All the labels have to be cut square and everything written in capitals, it comes from the labelling style at Per Se.

15. What’s the last film you saw?

Fuck. I don’t watch films. I’m going to have to say Home Alone at Christmas. I very rarely watch films.  To me I just look at it as 2 hours, and that’s quite a big commitment.

16. Best thing that has ever happened to you in a restaurant?

The day I went to Azurmendi in Spain.  We went to The Clove Club for lunch and then my friend and I flew to Spain.  Got a taxi to the restaurant which is on a vineyard, there’s a couple of buildings and we went to the building lower down and they were like ‘Oh no, you’re eating up there, we’ll call a car for you.’  I can’t remember which car it was, some kind of big fancy car, and they drove us up the hill and then got to this restaurant and got a tour of the greenhouse and picked food off plants and ate them.  That was just amazing. Even before the meal started I turned to my friend and said ‘This is the best meal I’ve ever had in my life’. We hadn’t even sat down yet.

17. What’s your tagline or motto?

I say ‘Come on’ quite a lot, like to tell people to hurry up.

18. Photography while eating – yay or nay?

Oh no.  I can understand why people do it and I am quite glad that people do it.  But I never do it and I don’t like people doing it when I am eating with them.  Like one or two pictures but I don’t know, not all the time.

19. Rank the following in order of priority; wine, food, sex

Wine is bottom.

But It’s all about time and place isn’t it or who it’s with. I’m going to say food, because it’s my job as well, and then sex.

So food, sex, wine.

20. What would be your last meal – drinks included. 

Probably be at my Gran's house and I would have lentil soup and then mashed potato with boiled ham and then loads of cakes and biscuits and stuff.  I don’t drink at my Gran's house, so probably fruit juice or something.

21. What makes you happy?

When my football team the Rangers win, because they are not doing very well right now.   It used to happen every week but it doesn’t happen anymore, so when they win it’s great. 

22. How do you relax?

I’m quite relaxed all the time I think. But I like to go out to restaurants and eat.

23. What is the background on your phone?

The roof at MEATmission.

24. Favourite Instagram accounts to follow

@thepubgeek because he goes everywhere and he’s funny

25. What is the best thing about working in hospitality?

I think it’s just that you can act however you want.  As long as you do your job, the boundaries of professionalism can bend a bit.

26. Which restaurant are you ashamed to NOT have eaten at?

Noma. I have to go this year. It’s been so influential over the last 5 or 6 years that I have to eat there.

27. Who is the person you most respect in the industry. 

Um, probably Rene Redzepi, just because he has had such influence on the industry. Even though I’ve never eaten there and I’ve never worked for him. He’s mental as well. The most important thing is the food and he isn’t afraid to shout.

28. What is your go to party trick?

This isn’t true, but I can juggle 5 empty wine glasses at the same time.

29.  Finish this sentence;  I eat everything except ...

Eye balls.