Chef brothers who fuel the Hampden Roar

by Aimee Lawrence

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

external stadium 05An 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, now married with a seven year old son, has also demonstrated impressive coaching credentials after he 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. They manage all match day hospitality, as well as catering for the host of other events at the stadium, from sell out concerts to corporate conferences and receptions.

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.

Family Team

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.”

The Stadium is hailed for its hospitality packages and recognised as being amongst the best in the country, much to the credit of the Buskie brothers who work behind the scenes to provide the highest quality food and service.

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. Despite the disappointing result on the pitch, diners were served up a memorable menu showcasing the finest locally-sourced, in-season and sustainable Scottish produce.

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.

While wins for the national team may be proving elusive, the impressive track record of the Buskie bothers and their catering team has seen them win an impressive haul of culinary silverware.

Hampden Park won gold in the Official Football Hospitality Awards and earned a merit in world class culinary competition, Salon Culinaire.

Meanwhile the brothers impressed judges at this year’s ScotHot competition by picking up accolades in their competing categories.

John scored a bronze award in the Gressingham Duck Competition, while David received a merit for competing in the Scottish Contract Catering Chef of the Year and together they led a catering team to bring home a merit in the Scottish Restaurant Team Challenge.

Healthy Rivalry

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.

Hampden Park is one of 17 top class venues in Scotland – and 50 in the UK- which partner with catering and hospitality specialists, Sodexo Prestige.

Others include Pittodrie stadium, Perth and Hamilton race courses and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Sodexo Prestige also provides catering for The Open Championship, one of the world’s biggest golfing events.

As well as providing match day hospitality at Hampden, Sodexo Prestige has helped build up a thriving business in non match day meetings and events. As well as 100 years of tradition, the stadium has a wide range of suites and event spaces which can cater for groups from 15 to 500, with visitors able to arrange tours of the Scottish Football Museum and the stadium itself.

All our chefs are committed to using the best Scottish produce, engaging in sustainable practices and creating menus which allow clients and customers to make important decisions when it comes to living a nutritionally balanced lifestyle.

Public relations in Soctland for Sodexo Prestige is handled by the expert PR team at Holyrood Partnership, providing strategic commuication advice and media reltions.

Private: Aimee Lawrence

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