Man Behind the Chef: William Curley

The Staff Canteen

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In the build up to The Staff Canteen Live 2017 - supported by Westlands, at ScotHot 2017, we are taking a closer look at the chefs who will be joining us on stage.

We dig a little deeper to find out what they are hiding under those chef whites – next up is William Curley, chef patissier who has worked with numerous Michelin starred chefs and was awarded the ‘Master of Culinary Arts’ by The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts.

William Curley was raised in Fife for most of his childhood in a working class family where his father worked as a dock worker. However, despite the humble beginnings, it wasn’t long before William Curley realised that he wanted to devote his life to fine food.

William has trained with some of the country’s finest chefs including Pierre Koffmann, Marco Pierre White and Raymond Blanc. His ambitions took him to The Savoy Hotel, where he became the youngest chef patissier in history.

But his accomplishments don’t end there, since then William has won Britain’s Best Chocolatier by The Academy of Chocolate four times, a gold medal at The Culinary Olympics and achieved the Master of Culinary Arts by the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts. The highest accolade awarded to chefs in the UK. 

William Curley
William Curley

What item of food do you hate cooking?

I specialise in patisserie and chocolates, and of course enjoy all aspects of cooking and preparing this style of food. There is nothing really that comes to mind. Cooking is a passion and running my own business enables me to choose whatever I cook! Although, when it comes to cooking at home, I am not the biggest fan of Brussel sprouts!

What food, if any, are you allergic to?

Probably quite a few things but I eat what I want! Those allergy tests always seem to tell people they are allergic to the best kind of foods!

>>> Read more in The Behind The Chef series here

What’s your favourite ingredient to work with?

Chocolate is the core of my business so has to be one of my favourite ingredients. It is hugely versatile so can be a main feature in many areas of my craft: Baked cakes, vienoisserie, bonbons, patisserie, decorations, ice-cream and desserts.

What’s your guilty pleasure food?

Those who are familiar with my brand will already know this, but I do enjoy reliving childhood favourites. Although, nowadays I make my own versions! My favourites include the Jaffa Cake and Millionaires Shortbread.

What three ingredients would you take with you to a desert island and why?

It’s quite difficult as a pastry chef, as chocolate, butter and cream would all melt or spoil in the desert heat. So I guess, vanilla as it such a great flavour to add to things, Piedmont hazelnuts, for their buttery flavour and crunchy texture and lastly a bottle of rum to compliment the coconuts already on the island!

If you weren’t a chef what would you be?

I never got to that stage. I became a chef very young and have never really looked back. As a boy, I dreamt of playing for Dundee Utd and the mess they are in at the moment means I am probably closer than ever to achieving that dream.

What radio station do you listen to in the kitchen?

We don’t always have the radio on, as I am partial to a bit of silence from time to time. I like Craig Charles Funk & Soul show but generally my team choose.

What other kitchen would you most like to work in?

I am fortunate enough to have worked in some amazing kitchens during my training. I guess to further my knowledge, I would love to travel and work in different kitchens all over the world. Food scenes are evolving hugely in different parts of the globe and an insight to some of the cultural cuisines would be hugely inspiring. Japan, Peru and Scandinavia all have very advanced cuisines.

Traditional cooking methods or modern techniques?

Traditional methods all the way for me. I think I would rather jelly in a trifle than some gel on a plate.

Why did you choose to get involved with TSC Live?

I was tricked by Mark at Koffmann’s book launch, after one glass too many! In truth, I like to try to inspire the next generation so an opportunity to do so is positive. I also always enjoy returning to Scotland. I am very proud of where I come from.

>>> ScotHot takes place on March 15-16, 2017 and you can register now here 

>>> Read more about The Staff Canteen Live here

>>> Read more about The Staff Canteen Live at ScotHot here

William will be signing copies of his new cook book, Nostalgic Delights - Classic Confections and Timeless Treats after his demonstration so make sure you register today!

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 13th February 2017

Man Behind the Chef: William Curley