Chef and restaurateur Gordon Watson, whose hugely successful Angus restaurant bears his name, has died at the age of 69.
Founded by Gordon and his wife Maria in 1986, the Inverkeilor restaurant with rooms that has become a by-word for high standards of food and hospitality, celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this year.
Son Garry, himself a multi-award winner, joined his parents in 1994 and latterly took the lead in the kitchen, working closely with his father.
Amongst many other accolades, Gordon’s achieved five gold stars from Visit Scotland, three AA rosettes for culinary excellence and was Scottish Restaurant of the Year in 2012.
Born on November 17, 1946 in Dundee, Gordon Watson grew up in the Blackness area and attended Logie School. His ambition was to be a chef but at 16, he started as a pageboy at the Royal British McDonald Hotel in Dundee
Told he was too small and slight to work safely in a hotel kitchen, he gained wide experience front-of-house, including as a commis waiter at Laing’s in Dundee and at Greystanes Hotel, where he became good friends with the actress Jill Gascoine and her husband, who ran it at that time.
Much of his time off was spent in the kitchen, learning from top chefs and often, guests would enjoy food both cooked and served by Gordon himself.
As a much-in-demand maitre d’hotel, he worked at the Angus Hotel in Dundee, at the Invercarse and at the Lunan Bay Hotel for four years, of which he was particularly proud. He also cooked offshore at a time when the oil industry spared no expense to produce five-star food, working alongside Michelin-starred chefs. At one stage he was head-hunted back to the Angus Hotel’s Papillon restaurant, so determined to have him that they matched his oil industry salary!
He always wanted to open his own restaurant and driving through Inverkeilor to work at Lunan Bay, he spotted the Victorian property which eventually became Gordon’s and a destination venue for visitors from all over the world.
Hugely respected at all levels within the industry, Gordon’s vision, imagination and hard work also inspired a new generation of young chefs.
Son Garry added: “His name will continue in the high standards and passion we have for what we do here. He would expect that.”
Gordon Watson’s funeral will take place on Monday, June 27, at 12.30pm at Inverkeilor Church.