Tuesday, 17 March 2015

5 Questions - Jak O'Donnell, Chef Patron & Co-Owner of The Sisters, Glasgow

Last week I published a post about the launch of a new cookery TV programme that was about to launch on STV Glasgow which is hosted by Glasgow chef and Chef Patron at The Sisters restaurant, Jak O'Donnell and Eddie Boyle, the head baker at Whole Food Market in Giffnock. I managed to catch up with the star of the show at a pre-screening event and gave her the opportunity to answer her own 5 Questions.
After 12 years as a pastry chef Jak decided to try her hand at private dining. You could hire her for as little as £10 per head back in those days! For this she would come to your home, cook, serve and wash up the dishes! After the private dining, Jak served her "apprenticeship" in a wee place in Glasgow's West End but outgrew the the site after a few short years. Needing to expand, a new location was found and it wasn't long before Jak and her staff were wowing diners across the city.
Jacqueline, and her team have since developed two homely welcoming local eateries having worked with Scotland's larder to give customers and now a lot of their friends a taste of true Scotland right in the middle of Glasgow.
With a passion for fresh, local and high quality produce, Jak does her best to use the bounties of Scotland's fine larder. Her scallops & langoustines are landed on Thursday at the pier in Uist and they are brought down to them direct. Braehead Foods, fine purveyors of the best Scottish game and have been supplying her for 17 years.
That's how The Sisters story began and been successfully operating for 17 years with the girl at the helm still loving what she does.
Here's the rest of Jak's story;
How did you get started?
At the age of 4, my Grannie sent me to the garden to pull some rhubarb I handed it in to the kitchen, the reward for doing this job was a newspaper cone filled with sugar & one of the smaller rhubarb stalks, well I thought this is amazing, however I had to sit on the back steps as I wasn’t allowed into the kitchen as the adults were getting there tea! When I did get back in to the kitchen, a rhubarb crumble (so i was told) came out of the oven, bubbling hot, sticky with a crumble topping all gooey round the sides from the rhubarb juice, well I was hooked, how did this happen? Surely I had just pulled some pink/green sticks with massive leaves out of the ground with dirt at the bottom, yet this pudding tasted amazing topped with a "Drizzle of Milk" well we did not have the luxury of cream in those days going back 43 yrs now mind.....
The story of my interest in food began right there on the back door step of my Grannies house!!
What’s the best piece of business advice you could give?
To have The love & appreciation I have for the Scottish produce I cook, understanding every step the person before me has taken to get it to my kitchen, appreciating that and caring for it until it reaches the next destination(customer plates) So they also get the pleasure too! My costings too !!
Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?
Building on the great reputation that Glasgow is working on right now expanding the legacy of People Make Glasgow and putting our city on the map as a great Foodie destination, showing the world wide audience just how great Scottish food is in my home city.
If you could only have one of your own products/recipes, what would it be & why?
I love the science behind food and watching my kids wow if they are watching - from spinning sugar to making puff candy - if you could bottle those wee faces and show them in the future, that’s what makes me tick! Obviously letting them eat these things is not very high on my to do list!!
You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?
It would actually be my Nana & Papa, as when my papa died my nana was worried she would have no one to sit on the chair opposite her to eat her tea, as they had shared a table for 60 years at dinner.

I would make sure they got an amazing Sunday Roast Dinner with all the trimmings and although there would not be wine I would have a wee cream sherry to start the meal with them! Food should always be shared by those whom we love and care for - it is a win win situation past or present.
It's clear to see from Jak's answers that food has always served an important part of not just her own live but that of her family too. From grannies back doorstep to a successful restauranteur who blushes at the term celebrity chef, no one could have predicted that! However Jak's blushes can't hide the fact that she her reputation for serving up great food has seen her appear on a number of TV programmes including ITV's This Morning and The Great British Menu.
I would like to thank Jak for taking the time out to answer 5 Questions and wish her every success with the new TV show, Jak & Eddie's Scottish Kitchen, as well as continued success at The Sisters. I really do need to get myself along there soon!
Keep up to date with Chef Jaqueline on Twitter.


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