City of Glasgow College student chef Dale bows out of Channel 4 cooking show The Taste

An award-winning teenage student chef from City of Glasgow College has been pipped in his bid for progress in the new Channel 4 reality cooking programme The Taste.

Dale Carroll, from Pollok, who is set to complete an HND qualification at City of Glasgow College this summer, received praise from a panel that included Nigella Lawson in a competition where chefs present a single spoonful of food for judging.

At 18, Dale was the youngest of 25 contestants vying for one of twelve places in the next round, but his dish of braised pig cheek with a roast tomato, pear and pink ginger chutney, crushed onions, chanterelle mushrooms, and an apple and calvados sauce was deemed ‘too sweet’ by Lawson and her fellow judges Ludo Lefebvre and Anthony Bourdain.

Dale was encouraged by lecturer Gary Maclean to apply to take part in the show and promptly completed an online form the same day. Before heading to his next class, he received a phonecall from Channel 4 producers who expressed an interest in progressing Dale’s application to the next stage.

Dale then progressed to the Glasgow auditions for the programme by impressing producers who gave him a list of ingredients over the phone and asked what dish he would cook using those raw materials. The following day, at the Millennium Hotel in Glasgow’s George Square, Dale competed in the regional audition and two weeks later was informed he would advance to the recording stage of the competition.

The 18-year-old former Bellahouston Academy pupil said: “I’ve done quite a few competitions in my time, so taking centre stage on a TV set wasn’t a problem for me. I felt fine about being on TV, as I’ve been on stage for various drama productions and musicals at school.”

Following Dale’s selection for the show, a Channel 4 team filmed at City of Glasgow College over a number of weeks in early-Autumn 2013 prior to shooting the competition at Pinewood Studios in London in October.

He has bowed out of the competition in high spirits and with ambitious plans for a bright future in the culinary world.

Dale said: “I’m grateful to Gary Maclean for encouraging me to enter the competition and for the help and support from him and other staff at City of Glasgow College. The course has developed my knowledge and skill base – I know I have been learning the right things.”

“I hope to be doing more competitions in the future. After I graduate, I’m looking to move to Basel in Switzerland, where I have family. There are lots of Michelin-star restaurants near my uncle’s house there, and I hope to start work at one of them later this year.”

Willie McCurrach, City of Glasgow College’s head of school for food, hospitality, and tourism, said of Dale’s experience: “It was an excellent opportunity for Dale – he’s very young and very talented. It was great for him to receive praise from someone like Nigella, who is very respected and is an icon in the industry.

“He was delighted to get as far as he got on the show, and his achievement in getting there is impressive enough, especially when you consider the number of people who were voted off in the first round and the fact that there were some contestants with far more experience.

Mr McCurrach has encouraged Dale to enter more competitions to further boost the young chef’s profile.

He said: “He should enter as many competitions as he can and further raise his profile, which has already been boosted as he has featured on much of the publicity material as well as the television advertising of the programme.”