Stuart grew up in Crawley, Sussex. His parents came from Glasgow and his fondest early memories are of the delicacies his parents would bring home from trips back to Scotland.
Stuart wasn't particularly interested in cooking while he was growing up, but when, at a loose end after finishing school, his brother suggested he enrol on a catering course, he agreed.
Once he'd completed his City and Guilds apprenticeship at Crawley, Stuart worked at a local chain hotel for a year as part of a Youth Training Scheme. It was around this time that Stuart and a group of fellow cooking students visited Albert Roux's Le Gavroche restaurant, which was an eye-opening experience. However, it wasn’t until he worked abroad, first in Italy, then Sweden, that Stuart discovered a real passion for cooking.
Stuart worked as head chef alongside Angela Hartnett at The Connaught, then moved on to London's famous celebrity haunt Le Caprice. He has also worked under Daniel Boulud, at the acclaimed American chef's eponymous restaurant in New York City. Stuart was chosen by Gordon Ramsay to run the Boxwood Café at The Berkeley, which opened in May 2003. In 2008, Stuart was also appointed Chef Patron of Gordon Ramsay Plane Food at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5. More recently, Stuart was appointed to oversee the launch of London's Savoy Grill, which is expected to reopen in 2010.