Chefs Mark and Doug named best in UK

The University of Aberdeen's top chefs have now been named the best in the UK after triumphing at a national university catering and hospitality competition.

Mark Donovan (Executive Chef) and Doug Shewan (Chef Manager) won gold at the University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) event to take the title of best in-house catering team in the UK.

The pair won four awards in total, scooping a bronze and silver for their baking skills in the Salon Culinaire and Doug taking another bronze in in a ‘grab and go challenge’.

However, the crowning achievement was taking the overall award.

Receiving his award, Mark said: “to be judged and to win gold in an event where the quality of the other teams was so high, is truly humbling. I am grateful Doug and I have had the opportunity to compete at the highest level, showcasing the care and quality of the approach Aberdeen makes in providing for the student and staff communities.  These awards reflect the commitment and effort made by every member of the food production and service team.”

Doug added: “This is one of the very best nights of my career and even better I have been able to share it with my team mate who is not only my colleague and boss but also my friend.”

Calum Maclachlan, Head of Commercial & Catering Services also attended the event to support the pair.

Calum said: “Mark and Doug are the epitome of professionalism and their efforts at the University have now rightly been recognised by the sector at large and it’s the University’s good fortune, they are part of its team.  I am genuinely delighted for them and I’m grateful I was able to witness just how popular a win they were. 

“TUCO is an organisation comprising of over 160 members and winning so many awards across a number of categories is a testament to the skill and professionalism of these two valued colleagues of the Aberdeen community. Well done chaps and truly well deserved.”

Mark is an award-winning chef with over 20 years industry experience and a background in high-end hotels and restaurants.  Mark began his relationship with the University on a consultative basis, subsequently becoming part of the senior management team.  Mark is directly responsible for the development of innovative menus and a hospitality offer reflecting leading edge themes and trends.

Doug possesses a wealth of experience working in some of the best hotels and restaurants in North East Scotland. Doug leads a team of 10 talented chefs at the University, overseeing the production of nearly 10,000 lunches and dinners each week.  This includes all the vast variety of student led food outlets, commercial banqueting, food preparation and the fine dining & hospitality requirements for senior university colleagues and visiting dignitaries.