Scott Garthwaite is arguably the first ever Deaf celebrity chef to emerge in mainstream television today, born and raised in Hartlepool in the North East of England. He learned his culinary trade back in 2002 after falling in love with the food during his travels in the country of Jordan. Scott had been living there temporarily for eight months and learnt so much about cooking and the food culture of Middle Eastern cuisine. He instantly enrolled at his local college then he went on to complete a 2.1 Honours Degree in Culinary & Patisseries art from Newcastle College in partnership with Leeds Metropolitan University. He decide he wants to sought opportunities to further develop his own skills and creativity and never allowed his Deafness to stop him achieving his dreams of being a Professional chef, so he started his first job as a Commis Chef at the North East's award-winning resort Rockliffe Hall in Hurworth, Darlington at the 4AA rosette restaurant 'The Orangery' under UK's most celebrated Michelin star chef Kenny Atkinson, that was the golden opportunity for him to learn as a culinary student under some of the most acclaimed chefs in the country.
While working, as a hobby he creating cooking vlogs on his social media channels. he thought this was beneficial for both his friends and other people in the Deaf community to be able to visualise his BSL cooking demonstrations. Scott felt the need to share his culinary tips and recipes for his audience to follow and to learn. He said "Our language is visual so trying to explain things like cooking methods or the sequence of cooking is complicated in English, so I translate or explain in my way so they can understand the recipe better. Then they will be more likely to try the recipe at home themselves" at that moment his vlogs went viral and the audience were demanding to see more of his vlogs! His vlogs caught the attention of Flashing Lights Media, a Deaf-led media production in London and they approached him to discuss of a possibility to set up a new cooking program for BSLBT (British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust) and to be the very first Deaf chef presenter. After a series of meetings and discussions, Punk Chef was born and the first series of Punk Chef was very successful! His dream finally came true and he has become a culinary sensation in the Deaf World.
Punk Chef cooking series for the Deaf community went on to make 9 programmes for BSLBT to broadcast on Sky, Film4, TogetherTV and Virgin Media which include a 2 programme special 'Punk Chef's kids challenge' "The programme aims to show the deaf community how easy it is to make simple and tasty meals and that their disability should not be seen as a barrier to learning a new skill, the fact that I’m deaf myself means that I’m able to relate to deaf people on a much more personal level, making it easier to guide them through the cooking process. Chefs like Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal have been inspiring people to improve their cooking habits for years, so it’s great to be able to do the same for the Deaf community"
On November 2017 BSL Zone's Up For It kids programme which is produced by Blue Marlin Television, ITV Signpost and Mutt & Jeff for BSLBT invited Punk Chef to appear on one of their series as he meet a young Deaf chef in a kids TV programme who dream was to meet Punk Chef. Due to high demanding from the Deaf viewers for a new cooking programme, Hungry Gap Production was commissioned a new 10 episodes in 2019, which see Punk Chef go on a culinary road trip around Britain in a brand new series, This time Punk Chef will be with his Interpreter Danny Rose as they travel around the country on a mission to find what makes British food so good. "Punk Chef: on the Road" is a food and travel series like no other which will be release on film4 and TogetherTV in 2020.
Scott was selected to compete in the finals for the International Gastronomy Deaf Culinary Event in Copenhagen, Denmark to represent England in 2014 and the competition was fierce with top Deaf chefs from all over the world competing for the title 'World Deaf Chef 2014' it was an opportunity for the Deaf chefs to platform and shine on the biggest stage in the world. However, he did not make it to the final. In 2015, he was selected once again to represent England for a second attempt at winning the 'World Deaf Chef' Using his previous experience from the 2014 competition, He cooked for six gruelling hours, delivering a four-course menu with 18 dishes to prepare and serve. In the end, the judges awarded Scott the second place prize, only six points behind first place, that position has made him the best Deaf male chef in the world.
Cooking around the world
Scott also travelled to Las Vegas, USA for 10 days to promote 'Route 66' with Kurt and cooked for 80 guests at MMDI (Mister & Miss Deaf International). He was a member of the 'Punk & Irish Chefs' alongside Deaf celebrity chef Kurt 'The Irish Chef' Ramborger from Los Angeles, USA. They teamed up to travel in Europe for five weeks in 2016, sponsored by Route 66 Promotion from St Louis, USA with the aim of creating cooking vlogs to share with the audience using social media during their travels in Europe. The vlogs consisted of a combination of BSL (British Sign Language) and ASL (American Sign Language) alongside ISL (International Sign Language), it was an exciting project and the crew will be creating a European cooking DVD for both deaf and hearing people produced by Dack Virnig (USA) and Rinkoo Barpaga (UK). After his European tour he went on a trip to Tokyo, Japan to work with Satoshi Ezoe for two weeks to give presentations and cooking demonstrations about his life journey as a chef and his food life, he also did a private cooking demonstration for a group of 15 locals in Tokyo. During his trip in Tokyo, as part of his travelling, Scott launched 'Punk Chef's WTF Tour' which he explored in depth Japanese cuisine posting a series of vlogs about Japanese food culture on websites and social media for his followers.