Michael Gillies


Michael has first hand experience of global cuisines having worked in restaurants across Europe and the middle east.

Michael Gillies

What is your name?

Michael Gillies

What class do you teach and at what level?

Level 2 Culinary Skills

NVQ level 2 and 3 Professional Cookery

What is your background?

I left school with 3 A levels in 1998 and after a lot of persuasion and selling to my parents, I went to Northern Ireland Hotel and Catering College in Portrush where I achieved my HND in International Hospitality Management. From there I then went on to Ulster University and achieved my BA (Hons) Culinary Arts. I then achieved my PGCE in 2011.

How long have you been working at SERC?

9 years full time and 2 years part time.

What is your industry experience?

I started off in Dunadry Hotel on work placement from school and loved the buzz of the kitchen. I went on to work in numerous restaurants and hotels on the North Coast including the famous Ramore group of restaurants for 4 years. After a number of stages in numerous restaurants throughout the world and a bit of travelling in Europe and Middle East, I came home to settle down. Ive worked in the multi award winning SHU Restaurant on Belfast’s Lisburn Road moving up to Sous chef for 3 and a half years; Head chef in Bourbon / Charlys restaurant group for 1 and a half years, Senior Sous chef in 5 star Merchant Hotel Belfast for 3 years and Senior Sous Chef in 5 star Lough Erne Resort Enniskillen for 1 and a half years.

What is your go to comfort meal at home?

For a quick fix really anything goes between 2 bits of toast but I do love my wife’s homemade Thai green curry.

Who is your favourite famous Chef?

I love what the Belgian Chef Sergio Hermann is doing at the moment in his restaurant The Jane in Antwerp. Rene Redzepi has revolutionised Nordic cuisine and takes food to different realms. I admire Jamie Oliver for continuously moving with the times and simply making the money that he does. Marco Pierre White, Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay have always been my idols.

What is the most essential item in your kitchen?

Definitely my chef’s knife.

What is your food heaven?

I love any type of seafood especially shellfish. Lobster is a treat for me but I wouldn’t pay the prices in restaurants.

What is your food hell?

Semolina, since my school days I just hate it.

If you had the chance, which person, dead or alive, would you invite to your dinner party and what would you serve?

I would have Princess Diana, The Mountaineer Sir Edmond Hillary, Comedian Michael McIntyre, Gordon Ramsay, George Best and Bill Gates and it would have to be fancy dress as well. I would serve them a tasting menu cooked by Heston Blumenthal and plenty of fine wine……It would be great craic!

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