Scott Garthwaite AKA Punk Chef is a Deaf Professional Chef, Television Presenter & Food Demonstrator, best known for his television work with BBC, ITV & Channel 4, also with Sign Language broadcast organisation BSLBT, which made him the first celebrity Deaf chef to emerge in mainstream television.
His first cooking series for the Deaf community was ‘Punk Chef’, then recently Scott went on to do ‘Punk Chef on the Road’ with Hungry Gap Productions. His unique trademark is his flamboyant pink mohawk, which has won him many fans and followers around the world.
Scott was born and raised in Hartlepool in the North East of England. He learned his culinary trade after falling in love with the food during his travels in the country of Jordan. where he had been living there temporarily for eight months and he learnt so much about cooking and the food culture of the Middle East. He decided that he wants to seek opportunities to develop further with his skills and creativity in cooking, he never allowed his Deafness to stop him achieving his dreams of becoming a Professional Chef.
Scott enrolled himself onto a culinary school in Newcastle and he was the only student out of his class to graduate with higher honours in Culinary Arts. He went on to further his culinary training at the award-winning resort in Darlington under one of the UK’s most celebrated chef and that was the golden opportunity for him to learn as a culinary student under some of the most acclaimed chefs in the country.
A Deaf-led media production in London approached Scott to discuss of a possibility to set up a new cooking program for BSLBT and to be the very first Deaf chef presenter in its history. Scott grabbed the opportunity and he went on to create nine ‘PUNK CHEF’ cooking programmes and it has broadcasted on Film4, TogetherTV and currently it can be found on Sky On-Demand. Further later, there were an additional programme specials ‘PUNK CHEF’S KIDS CHALLENGE’. Scott appeared on BSLBT’s UP FOR IT kids programme which has produced by James Martin’s Blue Marlin Television, ITV Signpost and Mutt & Jeff. Scott also did a Christmas special for BBC’s See Hear programme with Clive Mason.
Hungry Gap Production commissioned a new 10 episodes, this programme is about Punk Chef go on a culinary road trip around Britain in a brand-new series. Scott travels in the UK with Danny Rose (his onscreen BSL Interpreter) they were on a mission to discover what makes British food so good. ‘PUNK CHEF ON THE ROAD’ is a food and travel series like no other, during his filming he was juggling his television work and with his chef job at ‘The Wellington’ restaurant at Wynyard Hall.
Scott’s celebrity status in the Deaf community has seen him travel all over the world, he has recently went to Las Vegas, USA to cook for Mr and Miss Deaf Internationals also he did a live cooking demonstration at Deafopia event for an audience of 1,500 Deaf people at the Texas School for the Deaf with Kurt ‘The Irish Chef’ Ramborger. He travelled in Europe for 5 weeks to create a European cooking DVD to be accessible for both Deaf and hearing people with the use of Sign Language and closed captions. Scott was invited twice to Hiroshima, Osaka and Tokyo in Japan to work with Satoshi Ezoe (a well-known Japanese gentleman in Japan’s Deaf community) to give presentations and cooking demonstrations about his life journey as a chef and he also did some private cooking demonstration for the Deaf community in Japan.
Scott has done hundreds of food demonstrations in the UK and around the world, but his first breakthrough was at Ludlow’s food and Drink Festival when he became the first Deaf chef to cook at the Wot’s cooking main stage at their 25 year anniversary in front of mainstream audience with the use of voice over provided by an interpreter, he is keen to break the boundaries and show that other Deaf chefs can do the same of what Scott has achieved by cooking at live demonstrations at mainstream festivals and to encourage others to follow in his footsteps.
Away from his chef life and television, Scott spends his time working on various food and television projects, and one of them is working with a BSL linguist to create a portfolio of signs that will enable our community to gain better understanding of food and for them to learn, enjoy and cook safely. Scott has a huge passion for sharing his cooking knowledge and skills to other members in the Deaf community through sign language.
His biggest achievement was at the Gastronomy Deaf Culinary Competition, when he came 2nd in 2015 at Copenhagen, Denmark. That recognition has made him one of the top Deaf chefs in the world.
“Sign language in food is something that I am passionate about and to be able to express this through cooking, it is a wonderful feeling to give the Deaf community a new way to enjoy food and to understand where it comes from.”