The SEC is home to some of the UK’s largest and most successful exhibitions.
A wee chat with…Marcus Bean
In our blog series "A wee chat with…" the SEC has a quick fire Q&A with an organiser to get an insight into their working life and their event, plus getting their views on Glasgow and the venue.
The BBC Good Food Show is the ultimate experience for food lovers. From knife makers to jam producers and a whole host of celebrity chefs, the event is a must for all foodies each year at the SEC. At this year’s show, we caught up with Big Kitchen host, Marcus Bean, for a wee chat.
What’s your favourite thing about BBC Good Food Show?
The great thing about BBC Good Food is that you get everything together, great producers, loads of sampling and amazing chefs cooking live on stage. I’m lucky that I get to work in this kind of thing every day, I know you can see them cooking on TV and get that visual but it’s not the same as seeing it live in person. The whole encompassment of food, getting the stories from them, the tasting - getting it in once place is amazing.
What do you enjoy most about the shows?
As a chef I’ve always thought the BBC Good Food shows are iconic - they are the events you wanted to be at. It’s always key for to me to be able to find those people that I knew traded but I wouldn’t be able to find them on the high street. Whether it’s a knife maker or a fudge or jam producer - being able to find those people and discover new products is exciting.
What’s the greatest thing you’ve seen at BBC Good Food?
We’ve had some pretty impressive stuff going on over the years! At the NEC show, James Martin once came on stage during Antonio Carluccio’s set in Antonio’s electric buggy. You just can’t capture things like that anywhere else!
How do you find the Scottish audience?
I just had this conversation with Tom Kerridge’s development chef! The first show I ever did for BBC Good Food was here in Glasgow. That feeling of coming in and meeting the general public, a lot of whom still come to the show now was great. They are so open, so keen, real foodies - you don’t get that connection with the public everywhere. People get food here and the crowds are great. There’s always a great reception for chefs and producers here.
What’s your favourite thing about Glasgow?
The whole diversity and culture – it’s a mix of everything. I went for a run this morning and I went through the parks and the views are incredible. You’ll be running down a street with the most iconic of buildings and look down a side street and there’s another beautiful old building – that cross of culture is fantastic. On the way here, I went to two coffee shops, which looked quite modest but they did the most amazing coffee and breakfast. That diversity of food and culture is great – you don’t always get that in a big city and the people are great!
What’s the best Scottish food you’ve had?
Last year, we had Tom Kitchin here - I’m a big fan. I hooked up with him and ended up working in his kitchen in Edinburgh after doing 6 shows at BBC Good Food. I got there about 7pm, did four hours in the kitchen, then he sat me down and I had a full tasting menu with wine pairings, and one of the great things about Tom is that he gives you a map of where everything has come from – the langoustines, beef and venison – everything. It really showcases Scottish produce and it was incredible. It was from all over Scotland. The best of Scottish produce!
What inspires you in the kitchen?
Everything really. I teach at my cookery school, so what inspires me most is teaching people to cook. I’m a big fan of getting people to understand food and get rid of the myths. Like BBC Good Food teaches people – what happens if you haven’t got ingredients, what happens if you make a mistake – recipes are there to be changed and I think it’s great to give people that element – whether its chopping an onion differently or anything else, getting their inspiration from inside them and giving them a few things that they can pass on to a family member.
Have you had any kitchen disasters?
Everyone has kitchen disasters! Obviously we burn a lot of things, I can’t think there’s any major ones, though. Except for just leaving things cooking and it just getting destroyed – but if you’re doing live shows then you just get on with it!
It’s stuff you learn from. It’s good to make mistakes so you can learn and progress. It’s normal!
What are your top tips?
Generally – always be experimental, always be creative. Don’t stick to recipes. Don’t just sit and try to follow them to the letter. Cooking books are great – even chefs have them, but the most important thing is that you add your own touch to it. Add different flavours and textures, play about with it. The more you play about and practice with different things, different cooking methods and flavours – you’ll get better. Chef’s are good at what they do because they practice! I’m a firm believer that anyone can cook!
Describe Glasgow in three words…
Exciting, beautiful and creative.