A chef who has cooked for two presidents and for the highest ranks in the US Navy is sharing his remarkable story.
From humble beginnings in Greenhills, David McFarlane has gone on to receive numerous awards and commendations in recognition of his service to the United States, its citizens and its President as a top Navy chef.
The 45-year-old has cooked for both President George Bush and President Bill Clinton and now, after a nudge from his wife, he has written a book, entitled “Ginger”, about his amazing experiences as a chef at the highest level.
David, a former pupil at St Vincent’s primary, emigrated with his family to the States at age 10, and after a difficult upbringing, decided when he was just 16 that he wanted cooking to be his life’s work.
He told the News: “I worked hard at being really good at cooking and baking and finishing top in my class in school.
“I fell in love with cooking when I was 16 and couldn’t imagine of doing anything else.
“I struggled for about a year on whether to write a book or not since I really thought nobody would be interested in hearing about my story but my wife convinced me that my story was uplifting – especially for youngsters.
“So I put pen to paper and wrote ‘Ginger’.”
David recently returned to East Kilbride and to his old school, St Vincent’s, to talk about his book and help with their Health Week events, an experience he thoroughly enjoyed.
“I don’t think the children believed that I used to be at their school at first but I had a great time.
“I have always travelled back to my home town,” he added. After leaving cookery school, learning the trade of baking and the art of pastry, David joined the US Navy in an effort to develop further.
He spent 10 years on active service in the Navy, serving two four-star admirals, the crew and officers of the USS Mount Whitney and the President Bill Clinton in the White House and Blair House in Washington DC.
And he even got the chance to accompany Bill Clinton on Air Force One after an impromptu stop in Kansas, which was rarely permitted.
David recalls: “Once on board Air Force One it was fantastic. I sat near the tail section in front of the crew seats and savoured every minute of a two-hour flight that I didn’t want to end. It was truly a fantastic ride and I would have never guessed in my wildest dreams how luxurious it was,” said David.
And he also cooked at the largest Garden Party ever held at the White House.
He said: “On one occasion, the White House was hosting the largest garden party ever in the history of the presidency.
“We were setting up to feed 5000 guests on the South Lawn and had to pull it off with six manned chef stations and four army field kitchens. It was a remarkable experience.
“Presidential Food Service has a long and distinguished history with the very top one percent of Navy cooks carrying on the tradition. It was a pleasure for me to be chosen for such a prestigious position as well as an honour to be accepted.”