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Thursday, 20 October 2016

Tables Turned on Thai Leisure Group's Senior Team for National Waiters Day

Senior members of contemporary Thai restaurant, Chaophraya, swapped their suits for aprons to spend a day serving in front-of-house roles at its Glasgow site today (20 October).

The stunt, which coincided with National Waiters Day, was held to highlight the importance of front of house and service roles, in order to promote them as viable long term career options.

In a true reversal of roles, an open invitation was sent to front of house staff from casual dining restaurants across the city, inviting them to dine at the restaurant for free, using the Thai Baht to tip the staff on how they thought the service was.

Brand Strategy Director James Hacon said: “If you’ve been to our restaurants, you’ll know we’re all about creating exceptional dining experiences in unique surroundings. None of this would be possible without passionate and skilful front of house staff.

“They are the face of the industry and this initiative is a wonderful chance to promote these positions as attractive career options and the first steps of a career pathway. In fact, over 40% of the current managers across the whole business, started working on the floor of the restaurants, so if you’re looking to progress in a service career, drop in and say hi.

“Naturally, when the opportunity arose to put our work to the test by joining the other senior team members for a day on the frontline, I jumped at it. It was a humbling experience and reinforced the importance front of house roles play in the overall customer journey.”

In addition to James, five other members of Chaophraya’s senior team helped out with waiting on the tables.

National Waiters Day is affiliated with the organisation Springboard and its Front of House Festival. This has been created to promote the food and beverage sector and showcase the industry as a vibrant and dynamic place to work, inspiring young people to join the sector.

Springboard is a charity that provides advice and training for young people in the UK. It also works closely with the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries to help get people back to work and reduce unemployment.


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Edinburgh Gin Reveals Brand New Flavour

Edinburgh Gin – Scotland’s fastest growing gin brand - reveals a brand new gin liqueur flavour for 2016, Plum & Madagascan Vanilla.
This season’s must-have cocktail ingredient, Plum & Madagascan Vanilla liqueur will join the ever popular family of fruit gin liqueurs; Raspberry, Elderflower and Rhubarb & Ginger.
In the spirit of innovation, Edinburgh Gin’s Plum & Vanilla gin liqueur is the first of its kind available to the UK drinks market.
Alex and Jane Nicol, co-founders of Edinburgh Gin, originally thought of the new recipe while picking plums at their home in Scotland.
Abundant with natural flavour, Plum & Vanilla (ABV 20%) is made from juicy Scottish plums and Madagascar vanilla.
The highest quality vanilla has been sourced from Madagascar for the new recipe. Such attention to detail reflects Edinburgh Gin’s quest to use only the finest ingredients to create new and vibrant flavours.
Plum & Vanilla liqueur is an exciting new base liqueur for anyone who loves to shake up their own cocktails or those who just like sipping on cocktails. Serving suggestions include a Plum Negroni, a new twist on a Kir Royale and a Plum Collins. This new liqueur is perfect for cocktails this festive season.
The limited edition run will see 12,000 bottles hit shelves of John Lewis, independent drinks retailers, the Edinburgh Gin Distillery Shop at the visitor centre and at Edinburgh Gin Distillery shop online.
Edinburgh Gin’s co-founder, Alex Nicol said: “Plum & Madagascan Vanilla perfectly complements our range of popular gin-based fruit liqueurs, and we are delighted to add Plum & Vanilla to the family.
Made with Scottish plums and Vanilla from Madagascar, this new recipe has been devised from quality ingredients, producing an opulent and indulgent fruit liqueur, great for cocktails, after dinner drinks and desserts. There are other plum based liqueurs on the market but Edinburgh Gin is the only Plum & Vanilla. 
Edinburgh Gin is continuing to craft the Gin renaissance and be at the forefront of gin-making in the UK.”
  • Soor Plum
  • 25ml Edinburgh Gin
  • 25ml Lemon Juice
  • 25ml Plum & Vanilla
  • 1 Egg white
Dry shake ingredients together, then shake again with cubed ice, double strain into rocks glass and serve with a plum wedge.
Edinburgh Gin Plum & Vanilla Liqueur is on sale from 19th October.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Quick Recipe - Spiced Squash Soup

Squash, soup recipe, onion, coriander, chilli, vegetable stock, Cumin
With my summer holiday now behind me, I can start to accept that winter is definitely here. As the trees shed their leaves and the rain batters the windows, all I want to do is curl up on the couch with a steaming bowl of homemade soup.
This quick and easy soup can be made from scratch and be ready to serve in just 30 minutes.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 600g Squash, chopped - I used a Kabocha squash
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • handful freshly chopped coriander to garnish


  1. Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan before adding the chopped onions to the pan. Cook the onions until soft then add the chilli and chopped squash.
  2. Cook for a few minutes until the squash starts to brown then add the ground coriander and cumin, cooking for a a further couple of minutes but be careful not to burn the spices.
  3. Add the stock to the pan and bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the squash pieces is tender.
  4. Remove from the heat then blitz with a hand blender, taking care not to splash hot soup everywhere.

To serve, divide between two bowls then scatter with the chopped coriander and perhaps a swirl of coconut milk before serving chunky slices of buttered bread.

Squash, soup recipe, onion, coriander, chilli, vegetable stock, Cumin

This soup is so easy to make and tastes delicious. The spices do a great job of cutting through the sweetness from the squash. If you fancy your soup with more of a kick, simply ramp up the amount of chilli and spice in the recipe.

La Maison Du Whisky To Celebrate 60th Anniversary with Williams Bros Craft Beer Collaboration

La Maison Du Whisky, William Bros Brewing Co, Drygate, John Felix, Gerry's Kitchen

Leading French drinks importer, La Maison Du Whisky, will celebrate the firm’s 60th anniversary with the launch of its first craft beer collaboration.

The collaboration with Scottish craft brewer, Williams Bros. Brewing Co, will produce a trio of new beers inspired by notable eras from French history.

Brewed on the Drygate Studio Kit in Glasgow – a pilot kit designed for collaborations and small batch brews – the limited edition 1,200 bottle run will include:

· Golden Promise - a 5% ABV Golden Ale - 500ml

· Ale Deco – a 5% ABV Brown Ale - 500ml

· Second Republic Red Rye – a 5% ABV IPA - 500ml

Glasgow artist, John Felix, will also participate in the collaboration; producing three original label artworks inspired by the beer and French art in equal measure.

400 tripacks, each retailing at €18 / £16.20, will initially be available throughout Paris with longer term UK and Europe-wide listings rolling out in the coming months.

Jonathan Lax, Brand & Category Manager at La Maison Du Whisky, commented:

“There’s a growing movement in France for people wanting to know about craft beer and actively seeking out new styles to try.

Williams Bros are our biggest selling import beer brand and it made perfect sense for our first foray into the world of craft beer to be with Scott Williams and his team.

The process of brewing the beer on the Drygate Studio Kit was one of collaboration and comradery; an attitude that resonates right through Glasgow.”

Scott Williams, Co-founder of Williams Bros. Brewing Co, commented:

“La Maison Du Whisky has long been an import ambassador of Williams Bros’ craft beers; instrumental in helping us create a global ‘Brotherhood’.

We wish La Maison Du Whisky every success for the next 60 years to come and long may we keep this ‘auld alliance’ alive!”


Monday, 17 October 2016

Wild Fig Announces Street-Food Inspired Pop-Up

Wild Fig Catering, Justin Maule, Gerry's Kitchen, street-food, pop-up restaurant, The Whisky Bond

Justin Maule's Wild Fig announces street-food inspired pop-up dining event for the Distillery at the Whisky Bond.

The Distillery, located at The Whisky Bond in Glasgow, will host a pop-up dining event by leading gourmet chef, Justin Maule of Wild Fig, on Saturday 12 November.

Offering an intriguing spicy street-food inspired menu, including beef and langoustine pho and salt and chilli scallops (full menu including vegetarian options here: the pop-up dining experience is the second that Wild Fig has held at The Whisky Bond and will be located at the building's Distillery co-working area.

Running from 7pm till late, tickets are available from priced at £45 per person and the event will be a relaxed evening of food, drink and good company, featuring international flavours in the form of a spicy street-food inspired menu, perfect for a cold November night.

Wild Fig Catering is a bespoke catering company founded by renowned chef, Justin Maule. With over 20 years of experience in some of the finest kitchens in Scotland, Justin is trained in the classic French style and is recognised as one of the country's best chefs.

The Distillery is located at The Whisky Bond (, one of Glasgow's leading commercial hubs for creative businesses. Located on Glasgow's Canal at the heart of the newly emerging Speirs Locks district – just a ten minute walk from both Cowcaddens and St George's Cross Subway Stations - TWB spreads out over seven floors and offers 100,000 sq. ft. of space to those working mainly in the creative and cultural industries. The Distillery is its co-working space, designed specifically for freelancers and start-ups. A limited amount of space is currently available to let in both The Whisky Bond and The Distillery.

Helen Teeling, Distillery Manager, said: "This will be the second time that we have hosted Wild Fig at The Distillery – we had such fantastic feedback last time that we are excited to be announcing a second pop-up event. Wild Fig creates the ultimate dining experience and its founder and lead Chef, Justin Maule, is regarded as one of Scotland's absolute best.

“At The Distillery we consistently look to bring new experiences and high quality events not only to our tenants but to the local community, and to have Justin Maule and his team cooking here is hugely exciting as his food is renowned. We're expecting tickets for this pop-up to sell quickly as places are limited so would recommend buying quickly to avoid missing out.”

Chef Justin Maule, founder of Wild Fig, added: “'We're delighted to be holding another dining event at The Whisky Bond, it's such a great space. As usual we will be using great Scottish seafood and produce, and as a Land of Food and Drink Ambassador Chef - committed to championing Scotland's rich larder of world class produce - I'm especially excited about the salt and chilli scallops, which combine one of Scotland's finest products with the chilli spice of Asian street food.”

Tickets for the Wild Fig pop-up dining event, 12 November at the Distillery at The Whisky Bond, are available here: priced at £45.


5 Questions - Alan Brady, Head Sommelier at Hotel du Vin, Glasgow, One Devonshire Gardens

Gerry's Kitchen, 5 Questions, Alan Brady, Hotel du Vin, One Devonshire Gardens
One of our favourite places to eat in Glasgow is Hotel Du Vin, One Devonshire Gardens. Situated on a tree lined Victorian terrace in Glasgow's West End, the luxury boutique hotel is home to a 3 AA Rosette restaurant where myself and Nicola have enjoyed champagne lunch on a number of occasions.
Wine plays a central role in the day to day operations at the hotel with each of the bedrooms named after famous vineyards from across the globe whist One Devonshire Gardens have Head Sommelier Alan Brady on hand to offer his expert advice to anyone interested in learning more about the extensive array of wines kept in the Hotel Du Vin wine cellar.
Gerry's Kitchen, 5 Questions, Alan Brady, Hotel du Vin, One Devonshire Gardens
We've known Alan for a few years and over that time and thanks to his recommendations, we have been able to try wines that we might not have normally ordered. Alan has also demonstrated his knowledge and expertise by selecting the perfect matched wines to heighten our dining pleasure. Keen to find out how a local boy ended up working as a sommelier in one of the Glasgow's top hotels, I set about asking Alan 5 Questions.
Gerry's Kitchen, 5 Questions, Alan Brady, Hotel du Vin, One Devonshire Gardens
Here's Alan's story;

How did you get started?

Like most things, luck has its part to play. I had done my WSET courses while working as a waiter and supervisor at Brian Maule. I left there to pursue a wine role and, two years later, I applied and got the sommelier position at the Old Course Hotel (via a stint as Restaurant Manager at Michael Caines Glasgow). Keeping a keen interest in wine, working with different merchants and knowing people all helped. Then the opportunity arose to come to One Devonshire Gardens and I jumped at the chance of the challenge.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give anyone looking at a career within the hospitality industry?

Work at the best places you can. Keep your head down, work hard and learn as much as possible. Taste everything both food wise and wine, there is so much to learn and understand. And enjoy it, it's a brilliant industry full of great people.

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?

I really hope I'm still working with wine and food. I'm sometimes asked if I would ever go into sales/retail, but I think I'd miss the buzz and push of service too much. Seeing the guests reaction to the food and wine pairings is fantastic.

If you could only be drink one wine in the world, what would it be & why?

Really hoped you wouldn't ask this one....I'm very lucky to have tried and sold some of the great wines of the world and it's difficult to pick one wine out of them all. So, I'll be difficult and say if I could only drink one type, it would probably be Pinot Noir.

You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?

The menu is decadent ( well, why not?)

Foie Gras to start. Grouse main then cheeses and tarte Tatin to finish.

The guest? Probably have to say Silvano Giraldin, legendary front of house and former manager of Le Gavroche. I have always admired his knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for the industry.

Gerry's Kitchen, 5 Questions, Alan Brady, Hotel du Vin, One Devonshire Gardens
I would like to thank Alan for taking the time to answer 5 Questions and wish him all the best for the future. Why not book a table at Hotel Du Vin Glasgow and enjoy top quality, locally sourced produced served in elegant surroundings and take your dining experience to the next level by having Alan recommend the perfect wine to go with your meal.


Sunday, 16 October 2016

5 Questions - Chantelle Nicholson, Chef Patron of Tredwell's, Covent Garden

5 Questions, Gerry's Kitchen, Chantelle Nicholson, Marcus Wareing Restaurants, Tredwell's, The Gilbert Scott
Earlier this year myself and Nicola had an eventful trip to London where we had plans of enjoying a few Michelin meals and great nights out however I was struck down with a tummy bug which meant that we had to cancel some of our plans. I did manage to struggle my way through Sunday Roast at Marcus Wareing's The Gilbert Scott as well as a fantastic lunch at Galvin at Windows but our Saturday night dinner plans for Tredwell's (another Marcus Wareing restaurant), sadly had to be scrapped. Prior to going to London I had been tweeting with Chantelle Nicholson, Group Operations Director of Marcus Wareing Restaurants and Chef Patron of Tredwell's and had been looking forward to meeting Chantelle on the night however I had to settle for a tweet from her on the Sunday morning to check how I was feeling.
Chantelle is one of the hardest working women in the hospitality industry who for the last ten years has been part of Marcus Wareing's team, working her way up from sous chef to her current position as Marcus' right hand woman. During this time she has picked up numerous awards and received recognition from her peers in the industry whilst working tirelessly to ensure that the group deliver top quality food, drink and service to all of their guests across their three venues.

In 2009 Chantelle's talent and contribution to the hospitality industry was recognised and celebrated and she was awarded an Acorn Award.

In 2011, she had to transfer her talents to the operational side of Marcus Wareing Restaurants, helping it launch its second London restaurant The Gilbert Scott in St Pancras. Chantelle has held the principal role of Operations Director of the restaurant group since 2014 and in the September of 2014 she drove forward the opening of Marcus Wareing Restaurants latest venture Tredwell’s in Covent Garden. In October 2015 her dedication and hard work to Tredwell’s was celebrated on a national level as it saw Tredwell’s win the coveted award of ‘Best new restaurant – London’ at the 2015/16 AA Hospitality Awards.

In June 2016 Chantelle took on the role of chef patron of Tredwell’s, alongside her role as Group Operations Director for Marcus Wareing Restaurants. More recently, In July 2016 she was once again recognised when Chantelle won the prestigious ‘Manager of the Year’ award at the 2016 Catey’s.

5 Questions, Gerry's Kitchen, Chantelle Nicholson, Marcus Wareing Restaurants, Tredwell's, The Gilbert Scott
Here's Chantelle's story;

How did you get started?

Originally from New Zealand, I trained as a lawyer, before discovering my passion for food. In 2004 i entered the Gordon Ramsay Scholarship competition and got through to the final, where I met Josh Emett, who was then head chef of The Savoy Grill in London. Impressed by my skills in the competition Josh offered me a job to work with him at The Savoy Grill which I accepted without hesitation.

I quickly packed up my life in New Zealand, moved to England and it was at The Savoy Grill where I first met Marcus Wareing who was Chef Patron. Just as I had with Josh Emett, I was quick to impress Marcus and having gained experience in all areas of the kitchen in 2006 Marcus asked me to join him at Pétrus as sous chef.

Despite the long arduous hours and pressures of the job I continued to perform highly, advancing quickly to senior sous chef, then spending the next few years taking on pivotal roles in several more of Marcus’s esteemed restaurant kitchens.

When Marcus launched Marcus Wareing Restaurants in 2008 I worked by his side, proving myself invaluable to Marcus' new business.

5 Questions, Gerry's Kitchen, Chantelle Nicholson, Marcus Wareing Restaurants, Tredwell's, The Gilbert Scott

What’s the best piece of business advice you could give to aspiring young chefs?

Hard work and sacrifice will get you to your goal. Remember it's a marathon, not a sprint.

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?

I hope to continue doing what I'm doing just now as well as having the chance to develop some great people over the next 5 years.

If you could only cook one of your own recipes, what would it be & why?

That would have to be the Tredwell's Gin & Tonic Cheesecake - it's dessert and Gin with lemon all in one!

5 Questions, Gerry's Kitchen, Chantelle Nicholson, Marcus Wareing Restaurants, Tredwell's, The Gilbert Scott

​You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why?.....and what's on the menu?

5 Questions, Gerry's Kitchen, Chantelle Nicholson, Marcus Wareing Restaurants, Tredwell's, The Gilbert Scott

It would have to be Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group in order to pick his brain. As for the menu, it would have to be Champagne and Foie Gras to start, followed by Rib of Beef with triple cooked chips and a bottle of Petrus, finishing with a fresh raspberry trifle.

5 Questions, Gerry's Kitchen, Chantelle Nicholson, Marcus Wareing Restaurants, Tredwell's, The Gilbert Scott
I've asked a number of chefs what advice they would give to anyone considering a career in the hospitality industry and there seems to be a common thread - work hard, hard work and sacrifice - Chantelle is testament to what can be achieved if you follow that advice.
I would like to thank Chantelle for taking the time out of her very busy schedule to answer 5 Questions and which her ever success in the future.
Myself and Nicola have booked another trip to London for the end of the year so we will be rescheduling our dinner at Tredwell's and all going well, I might even be able to thank her in person for doing 5 Questions.
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