Power Fishing and Authentic Sushi
With his father working as a chef all his life, Duty Manager Jamie Magee was inspired from a young age to follow in his footsteps, coming second in a Rotary Young Chef of the Year competition at the age of just 13!
By the age of seven he was already cooking potato scones, sausages and bacon, watching his Mum carefully in the kitchen and gradually expanding his expertise and love of cooking.
At school he opted to study hospitality, not only to improve his skills with food, but to learn more about the different techniques used in typical European cuisines – mostly French, Italian and Spanish.
Outside of school, Jamie was taking advantage of living on the coast in Prestonpans, fishing regularly from the age of 5 for sea bass and mackerel. He learnt where to get the biggest catch – standing on a jetty near the old Cockenzie Power Station where the undercurrents made the water warmer.
He usually caught about ten fish and knew exactly how to get the best return on them, giving them to his Mum if they were her favoured mackerel, and to the local Chinese if they were sea bass … in exchange for a takeaway!
Volunteer to Sous Chef
Leaving school at 16, Jamie still wanted a career in the kitchen and volunteered at a cafe in Musselburgh – for six months! Through the Bridges Project Jamie met the Head Chef at the Outsider Restaurant in Edinburgh and was invited to join the team there as a Trainee Chef, promoted to Commis Chef after just three months.
He then moved with the Head Chef to the Parliament House Hotel and progressed his career there as well as in other restaurants as a Pastry Chef, Chef de Partie – running a section in the kitchen, and Sous-Chef – second in command.
Jamie then made a significant change in moving to Bonsai, the Japanese restaurant on West Richmond Street, for two and a half years. He wanted to learn something completely new that he had no knowledge of at all.
Amazingly, only one member of the team was from Japan and yet the orders were all taken in Japanese, so that over six months, Jamie learnt all the Japanese words on the menu! He was taught how to make sushi by a Filipino and a Scotsman, which seemed bizarre, but nonetheless he went on to become Acting Head Chef.
He says his best change was moving to Harajuku Kitchen, where he worked under one of the best Japanese chefs in Scotland and learnt how authentic sushi should really be made. Having joined only three weeks after they first opened, and working as Acting Head Chef, Jamie helped them to climb from the 1000th best restaurant in Edinburgh to number 322 by the time he left – a great achievement!
After nearly ten years in the kitchen full time, Jamie decided it was time for something completely different and came to join the Venue in Event Support back in 2014. He loves the fact that no two days are the same and that he meets different people every day.
Whilst he is mostly setting up rooms at the end of the day in preparation for the next, he is very happily pulled into the kitchen when needed … and loves the fact that he won’t still be there in the middle of the night.
Jamie would say, however, that his biggest and best achievement to date is his baby daughter, Ayla, now nearly two years old and the apple of his eye!