With Scotland's Outdoor Festival of Chocolate happening in Perth this weekend who better to catch up with than Graeme Maxwell, AKA Big G, the owner of Maxwell’s Desserts based in Bridge of Earn.
Graeme has played a big part behind the scenes at Small City; husband of #RhonaRecommends, daddy extraordinaire to Baby Freya and our go-to for yummy dessert recipe demo's like his amazing gluten free Choclate Christmas Yule Log.
If you've ever wanted to know what makes a pastry chef tick we've got the answer- give him a night in with Strictly, a bottle of beer and a packet of jaffa cakes (or three!) and he's a happy boy...
1. What does a typical day at work look like for you?
Up and in early and write the prep list for Gemma, who works with me, coming in. Get any deliveries ready to go out with Ian my driver. Then just hope the phone doesn’t ring too many times and change the plan of action.
2. What's your typical working hours?
Not sure I have typical working hours as they are very much dependent on what our customers’ needs are. However, I would say that at the moment I do an average of around 70 hours a week!
3. What signals the start of your weekend or days off?
Turning my morning alarm on my phone off.
4. What makes for a perfect night in?
On the sofa with my wife Rhona, watching Strictly Come Dancing, being completely judgmental with a bottle of Hoegarden beer and a packet of Jaffa Cakes.
5. What makes for a memorable day or night?
Pretty much all my memorable days and nights out are made by the people I spend them with. I have a pretty small group of close friends and, as well as my wife and daughter, I know that as long as I am with them there will be good times ahead.
6. Tell us about the weekend you’d love to live again?
I seem to have quite a few of these. The weekend we got engaged in Ireland, being at the opening game of the world cup in France ‘98 between Scotland and Brazil, playing in a winning cup final team at Hampden, completing Etape Cymru (Wales) with a good friend of mine, golfing at Kingsbarns with John and Gary for Gary’s 40th, to name a few. But to be honest, right now I would relive all the weekends I am spending with our 18 month old daughter Freya, as I don’t get to see her that much during the week.
7. Best ever day at work?
The obvious one is the day I was involved in making the dessert for Zara Phillips wedding to Mike Tindall at Holyrood Palace with the entire Royal Family present! Better than that though was when I made dessert for John Barrowman and got a selfie with him afterwards.
However, for me my standout day was during my time at Gordon Ramsay’s Amarylis Restaurant in Glasgow my first Pastry Chef job. It was the first day I managed to complete an entire dinner service for a fully booked restaurant on my own and to the very exacting standards of our head chef Colin.
I had taken a pretty big punt on a career in the kitchen, walking away from quite a lot and that day was the first time I really felt that I could make it in the industry and that I had made the right decision.
8. Any workday or weekend rituals?
I like all the knobs on my oven to be aligned and facing the same way and will spend more time than I should adjusting the temperature control knob to make sure this happens.
9. What’s in the perfect day off breakfast?
If we are out, or staying in a hotel, then Eggs Benedict, but any kind of full cooked breakfast is good for me. Poached eggs and no beans though!
10. Any words of wisdom for us?
If people don’t quite get you, don’t let it bother or change you as it’s more than likely because they’re weird, not you!
If you enjoyed reading this and want to find out more about 'Big G', you can read his full Big Personality story here>
You can find more information about Maxwell's Desserts on our directory>>
Going trail running up and around Kinnoull Hill.
Discovering all the independent craft makers and antique places, especially during Open Studios.
The scenery and wildlife - we are lucky to be surrounded by all this beautiful countryside.