Meet the Maker: John Abraham, Castle MacLellan Foods

Development chef John Abraham brings over 24 years of experience to his role at Kirkcudbright based pâté producers Castle MacLellan Foods

John Abraham, Castle MacLellan Foods
Castle MacLellan development chef John Abraham has decades of experience.

Where do you work and how long have you worked there?
I am the development chef at Castle MacLellan Foods and I have worked here for almost four years.

I have over 24 years of in-house food development experience and before that I travelled the world working in commercial kitchens, hotels and on cruise ships.

What does your current role involve?
As a development chef I work on bringing the latest trends and concepts to life from our fantastic NPD kitchen on the banks of the River Dee, both for our Castle MacLellan brand and own label briefs we receive from retailers. I have the pleasure of working alongside all the major retailers to develop award winning pâtés, terrines, and cheese bakes.

What’s Castle MacLellan’s story?
Castle MacLellan is celebrating its 40th year in business and has grown from a small operation producing several tubs of pâté a day in the back of a small delicatessen, to a major national force supplying supermarkets the length and breadth of the country.

Our foray into the retail sector began when a supermarket buyer tasted the products whilst on holiday in Kirkcudbright, which led to the need to open a new factory to cope with the rising demand.

It is great to work for a business that is so established in the local area and creates products that are loved by our loyal consumers.

What sets Castle MacLellan Foods apart from the competition?
We are proud to use as many local suppliers as possible in our products to showcase the abundance of fantastic ingredients in Scotland.

This has meant we have struck up partnerships with local suppliers including Galloway Lodge Preserves, Crafty Distillery, John Mellis Honey and Graham’s Dairies.

Castle MacLellan is owned by the Kavli Trust, whereby all our profits are donated to good causes around the world and right here in Scotland.

I enjoy working for a business that enables its employees to choose which good causes that are close to their hearts to support, it really is unique. Just this year we have donated £105,000 to three local good causes including Carlingwark House, Kirkcudbright Sea Cadets and Castle Douglas Nursery.

What’s a typical working day like for you?
Every day provides an opportunity to work with the NPD team on bringing to life new and exciting concepts for our customers.

The daily variation is what excites me as one day I could be working on new flavours for plant-based cheese bakes and then the next working with our in-house marketing team on the latest trends in the pâté category.

What’s your favourite part of the job?
There is nothing quite like seeing a product that you have worked on for months (or sometimes years!) being launched and landing on shelf in store. It is a great feeling to receive positive customer feedback and to know your creation is being enjoyed by households across the UK.

What’s your personal favourite from the Castle MacLellan portfolio?
That is a tough question as I love all our pâtés, but probably the one that just stands out above the rest is the Castle MacLellan Smoked Salmon Pâté with Hills & Harbour Gin.

I love salmon and combining it with a premium locally sourced gin from Crafty Distillery takes it to a new level. It is great that we can build an excellent network of local suppliers and showcase the diverse offering available on our doorstep in Southwest Scotland.