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Restaurant: Pantry at The VERVE-Crowne Plaza
Chef: Alastair McLean

When did you first know you wanted to be a chef?
I discovered I wanted to be a Chef when I was about 14. I loved cooking at home and thought, why not get paid to do what I enjoy. A few months later I was working in a professional kitchen. Albeit, I was peeling potatoes and onions, but we all have to start somewhere!

What are you most proud of in your culinary career?
Becoming the Executive Chef here at The VERVE-Crowne Plaza. When someone recognizes all of the hard work you have put in throughout the years, it is amazing.

How would you describe working in your kitchen?
Working in my kitchen is always exciting! We serve many different food styles throughout the day, depending upon the groups we have in house, as well as the individuals dining at the Pantry. This enables us to really show off our range of skills and creativity.

What type of food do you dislike?
None! I love trying new foods even if they are a little off the beaten path. Just last weekend, I was in New York eating Pigs Ear Salad...and it was amazing!

What are your guilty pleasures? terms of food, of course!
Desserts! Anything with chocolate, sugar, and butter. I can't help myself.

With all the trends coming and going, what do you think will be the next big thing in the food world?
The technique of smoking seems like it is blowing up in the culinary world.

Which dish will follow you wherever you go?
Dukkah Crusted Lamb. Being Australian, I was spoiled with lamb growing up. We have sourced some great cuts here. I have served it a few ways over the years, but the crumb still stays the same.

What would your last meal on earth be, and where would you have it?
Japanese Peanuts (snack before the meal), Grass Fed Beef, Mushroom Truffle Risotto. Wherever my wife and kids are.

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