An aspiring footballer whose career was ended by injury has still found a role at the home of the Scottish game – as head chef at the National Stadium. John Buskie, 32, from East Renfrewshire had boyhood dreams of turning professional and turning out for Rangers, but his playing career was cut short at just 16 when he ripped his calf muscle.
Yet after following an alternative career path he still made a proud debut at Ibrox, when he was appointed sous chef at the stadium, before going on to win the prestigious job of head chef at Hampden Park.
John persuaded younger brother David, 30, to also pursue a culinary career and they have been a successful partnership ever since. For the past year the brothers have worked with Sodexo Prestige, which provides all catering and hospitality services at Hampden. John said:
As a football fan it is a real privilege to be working at the home of the Scottish game. Hampden really is a fantastic venue and to be involved in the hospitality for an international is a proud experience.
As a chef it is also a tremendous professional challenge. We do everything from providing an a la carte dining experience in the hospitality boxes, to catering for fans at major concerts, or helping feed delegates at corporate events.
Brother David, sous chef at the stadium, added:
Not everyone would enjoy working with their older brother, but we make a great team. Hampden is definitely the best place we’ve worked. It is incredibly varied and the buzz about the place is tremendous.
Since arriving at Hampden a year ago the pair have already catered for a number of dignitaries at Cup finals, a number of 2012 Olympic football matches, and several other major events – totalling more than 18,000 covers.
Most recently they fed fans who turned out for Gordon Strachan’s Hampden debut as Scotland manager at the FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Wales. The menu featured a perfect match of traditional Scottish and Welsh dishes including cawl cennin – a Welsh leek and potato soup with Lothian potatoes and Ayrshire ham; succulent daube of beef sourced from Buccleach Farms in the Borders with haggis bon bon from Macsween served in a wild pepper cream sauce and a platter of Arran cheese.
From East Renfrewshire, the Buskie brothers credit their mother for their success after she instilled in them the importance of being self-sufficient. The brothers keep each other on their toes with a healthy rivalry as they work together to create adventurous menus using locally sourced produce to give customers and clients fresh, seasonal food.
The year ahead brings much excitement for the pair with the Sodexo Prestige team catering for a star studded calendar at Hampden including Robbie Williams, Bruce Springstein and Bon Jovi.