Thursday, 20 October 2016

Interview with David Banks, Masterchef contestant, owner Turtle Dove Catering


As you know I’m trying to get to know the people behind the Glasgow food scene and I’ve started a series of interviews. I recently had the pleasure of meeting David Banks who you will know as a participant in Masterchef. David has his hand in a few different aspects of the Glasgow foodie scene so I thought he was the perfect person to interview. David’s introduction to the food scene came from his participation in Masterchef where he narrowly missed out on a place in the quarter finals in 2015. Next up was the launch of David’s catering company called Turtle Dove Catering and finally David now regularly cooks on STV’s Live at Five show.

David is a mechanical engineer by trade, working in wind power, and he still works in this industry Monday - Friday. His catering company can cater for events on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday’s. It was David’s experience on Masterchef that became the impetus to establish his catering company. Turtle Dove is based in the southside of Glasgow and is growing in and around the city and caters for parties, private dinners, hunting parties and afternoon teas. Turtle Dove catering is more about providing a luxurious dining experience rather than mass producing food to cater for a crowd and not worrying about the taste or the look of the food. You can see from the photo’s below that so much love and attention goes into each dish. Could you imagine having your nearest and dearest friends or family around for dinner and wowing them with these amazing dishes. I’m just dying to have an excuse to use Turtle Dove.


As I mentioned David also regularly cooks on STV’s Live at Five show. In the unlikely event that you haven’t come across this show, the Live at Five show is a family friendly show with hosts David Farrell and Jennifer Reoch and it is aired every weekday at 5pm. It reflects life in Glasgow and Edinburgh and is packed with great guests, cooking from local chef’s, live performances by local bands and features on local history (as you can see it is focused on local issues and people so it is really worth a watch). Live at Five is broadcast from STV Glasgow’s studios and this is where I got to meet David.

When David asked me to go along to the live broadcast of Live at Five to say that I was super excited is a bit of an understatement. I got to sit back and not only watch David prepare a meal live on air, I also got to see behind the scenes of the entire show. It really was a great experience. After the show David and I spent some time chatting and getting to know each other.



So first up I asked David about Masterchef and in particular what inspired him to enter the competition. David said that he has always been pretty obsessed with food and probably since his mum had him stand on a stool in the kitchen when he was a tiny boy. He does state however, that it was when he became a poor student, living in a flat near Kelvin Bridge that he was forced to try and make cheap cuts of meat tasty. He wasn’t into takeaways or microwaveable meals so he got loads of practice at cooking for himself. So that is where David’s passion for food came from. Next up was Masterchef, he applied for Masterchef a number of times before getting selected. I asked about the high’s and low’s of his Masterchef experience, to which David responded by saying; “It’s the best thing I have ever done. The high was that first moment you walk into the studio that you have seen so many times on the TV. Before they start filming with John and Greg, you go to your station and make sure everything you had requested (for the invention test) was there – it’s called ‘blocking’. You find yourself looking around at everything knowing that very shortly you’ll be filming something that’s going to be watched by millions on the BBC, completely bizarre! The low point was when Greg asked me what I was making (off the camera) and I couldn’t remember the word “bonbon” so ended up just fluffing my words – he looked at me like I was an idiot and patted me on the back! Also, the phone calls to my family as I was walking home from the studio after being evicted weren’t exactly much fun”.

I asked David where does he take inspiration from for his dishes? “Watching cooking on youtube is my porn. I have taken more inspiration from videos on there than any restaurant I have been to. The best channel without a doubt is Staff Canteen which consists of 5 minutes clips from Michelin star chefs in their own kitchens using really clever techniques and plating things up so elegantly without even thinking about it”.

So an obvious question (which I’m sure most chef’s get asked) is who does the cooking at home, David or his wife Michelle? David said he does the cooking at home as he just really enjoys plating up amazing food. The next obvious question was - does the food he cooks at home look as amazing as the food he produces at Turtle Dove Catering and his response was yes. I will admit it was at this point that I asked could I move in with his family?? How lucky is his wife Michelle and daughter Wendy??? So jealous. Another obvious question was - what is your favourite dish and why. David said "there is nothing quite like getting a fresh piece of tuna or salmon on a Saturday morning and cutting into sashimi. Keep it simple with a couple of dipping bowls with soya sauce and lemon juice. A little tip is to put your fish in the freezer for 5 minutes as soon as you get home so that it is firm enough to cut uniformly”.

The conversation moved back to his appearance on the Live at Five show. From watching David during the show it was clear to see that he really loved doing this. He really seemed at ease and what I loved most was the dish that he cooked on the day was easily reproduced at home by ‘normal’ people. He really seemed to understand his audience and wanted them to be able to enjoy cooking as much as he does. I asked David how did his stint of the Live at Five show come about? David responded by saying that he started chatting with David Farrell on twitter after he hosted a wind energy awards ceremony at the Science Centre. Unfortunately I hadn’t got far enough on Masterchef to justify a full blown interview on the show so had to make do with showing them how to do the wedding classic Chicken Balmoral”! David has been on the show a number of times now and says that he loves it and really enjoys having a bit of fun with the presenters. As I type this David is already scheduled to appear on Live at Five on Friday, 28 October so keep an eye out for him.


As I said above David has his hands in a few different Glasgow foodie pots and it looks like he is doing really well for himself. I wish him continued success.

Finally, I would like to say a big thank you to David for allowing me to interview him (& for bringing me to the Live at Five show) and hopefully in the future we can work together again if an opportunity arises.


Useful Links:-
Click HERE for the Turtle Dove Catering website
Click HERE for the Turtle Dove Catering Facebook page
Click HERE for David's Twitter feed

Thanks a mil for reading.

Emma mai xx


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