pressure cooker | 

Chef Dylan McGrath does not believe ‘shouting at people’ is necessary in a modern kitchen

The celebrity chef is back on our screens in Virgin Media’s Dylan McGrath's secret service

Chef Dylan McGrath. Photo: Mark Condren

Kevin PalmerSunday World

HE has managed some of the most heated kitchens in Ireland, but nothing prepared chef Dylan McGrath for his latest mission.

The celebrity chef is back on our screens in Virgin Media’s Dylan McGrath’s Secret Service, as he aims to prove anyone can make a success of their career if they are given the right opportunities.

Five people who haven’t had life handed to them on a plate take on the ultimate culinary bootcamp — to work with Dylan and see if they can pull off a dinner service to raise money for charity.

Among them is a participant who comes out of prison to take part in the show; another has Down syndrome; and there is also an immigrant who has made a home for herself in Ireland.

Finding a way of whipping this raw collection of wannabe cooks into shape was no easy task, and Dylan admits that screaming at these candidates — as we often see in high-pressure kitchens — would not have worked.​

“I don’t believe that shouting at people is necessary in the modern world,” says Dylan, whose restaurants include Rustic Stone in the capital.

“When I was a young guy and starting restaurants in Dublin, I was very passionate about what I was doing and would have been no stranger to setting standards very high. When it comes to the guys on this show, you need a different approach.

“You need to be patient and give them a chance to learn on the job. All I ask for from everyone I work with is a good attitude and to try your best.

“In my mind, the shouting and screaming days in kitchens are over. People have changed and if those methods don’t work anymore, we have to change. If the old ways of screaming at people are no longer productive, we have to adapt as an industry.”

The stories of the candidates in the four-part series are what bring it to life, with Dylan inspired by the challenge of bringing them into his world.

“We are working with a bunch of charities who have people from challenging backgrounds who are struggling to get jobs,” explains the 45-year-old.

“They are not an option on the employment market, so what would it look like to bring them in, train them and see if they can get to the end of the story and serve up a meal for 60 people?

“The guy from prison, Stephen, had a real willingness to learn and try to make the most of the opportunity.

“He was making food in the prison in the morning, would get out to work with us and then had to be back in prison for the evening. So we had some interesting characters to work with on this show.

“I’ve always been a fan of giving the underdog a chance. Giving someone a chance who never gets a chance can change their lives.

“The majority of the time, most people respond to that.”

Dylan McGrath’s Secret Service comes to Virgin Media Television in March

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