Friday, 6 July 2018

CHEFS AT 111 BY NICO LAUNCH 'TRUST' A groundbreaking new dining experience is unveiled

A NEW dining concept by the brainchild behind innovative restaurant brand Six By Nico is asking diners to completely place their TRUST in the chef. 

Scotland's most innovative chef Nico Simeone has launched the dining experience at his popular Glasgow eatery, 111 by Nico. Guests dining at the Glasgow West End restaurant will now be encouraged to sit back, relax and TRUST the chef as dish after dish of seasonal favourites are shared in front of their eyes.

Never the same dinner twice, the TRUST menu begins with an amuse bouche highlighting local ingredients, then guests enjoy individual courses such as pasta, lamb, asparagus or fish - the options are endless. The five course tasting menu ends on a sweet note with a decadent dessert.

Nico Simeone said:

"The first and most important element of this new dining experience is the expression of trust. It’s not simply saying, 'I don’t care what you give me,' instead, it tells our chefs that the customer trusts their judgment about the current seasonal produce available to them and what the best courses could be at that particular moment."

The TRUST tasting menu is an immersive experience where guests choose from a list of 12 ingredients. From today (July 6th 2018) at 111 by Nico, the team of chefs decide the courses that are served to a customer rather than the customer ordering off an a la carte menu.

The concept is a popular method in dining in Japan where patrons at sushi restaurants leave the selection to the chef, as opposed to ordering à la carte. The Japanese call "omakase" which means you trust in the chef. The chef will generally present a series of plates, beginning with the lightest fare and proceeding to the heaviest dishes. TRUST at 111 by Nico emulates this idea with seasonally available ingredients. 

Nico says: 

"Our team of Chefs are always finding creative, interesting ways to work with ingredients that will not only excite them but our guests too. In recent years the food scene has seen the rise of multiple cuisines and with TRUST we can explore these food trends and present them as part of a tasting menu to our customers."

TRUST is priced at £25 per person and the 12 ingredients listed on each menu card will change on the 1st of every month. 111 by Nico also offer guests the same attention to detail as your food element when it’s comes to drinks pairing with the dining experience. 

Nico Simeone continues:

"Its important for us to offer an affordable dining experience without compromising on taste or portion size. A dining out experience doesn’t have to break the bank and with this five course tasting menu, we want to create a unique menu set within an unpretentious environment for people of all ages and all backgrounds to enjoy."

111 by Nico have also designed drinks that will enhance and compliment the TRUST menu. The have sourced fine wines from around the world to local craft breweries to independent Whisky and Gin distilleries. The matching drinks pairing costs £22. TRUST is now available at the restaurant.

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Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Indian food festival boost for Edinburgh charity


An Edinburgh charity which helps Sikh women integrate into Scottish society is set to benefit from Scotland’s biggest festival of Indian food.

Organisers of the Indian Food Bazaar, which is being staged in Glasgow on 14 and 15 July, have named Sikh Sanjog in Leith as their chosen charity.

Its services focus on linking women and girls to social, educational and employment opportunities which build confidence, develop potential and lead to better life chances. The word ‘Sanjog’ means ‘linking’ in Punjabi.

Sikh Sanjog which runs the Punjabi Junction Social Enterprise Cafe in Leith Walk, will have the only charity stall at the event in Glasgow’s Briggait centre, selling Indian clothes, bangles, Bindis, home-made relishes and chutneys, and offering henna tattoos.

The Charity’s Founder, Trishna Singh OBE, commented: “We are proud to be representing the only Sikh women and family support charity in Scotland. We have been running for 29 years in Edinburgh and to be the ‘Chosen Charity’ for a Glasgow event is a first for us. It will kickstart our 30 years’ celebrations for 2019!”

The Indian Food Bazaar in Glasgow city centre will showcase 36 dishes from Indian’s six main culinary regions, and feature Indian music and dance and children’s activities. It will be open from noon to 10 pm on both days and admission is free. For more information see
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Step into Summer With A Jawbox Gin Cocktail

Step into Summer With A Jawbox Gin Cocktail

Sunshine and Gin Cocktails are a match made in heaven, so why not make your own Jawbox Gin cocktails at home.  

Distilled in Belfast using a unique combination of botanicals including local Belfast Black Mountain Heather, Jawbox is perfect for branching out from the ordinary G&T and enjoying with zingy ginger ale (also invented in Belfast, did you know?).

The gin is named in honour of the deep, boxy Belfast sink which became a focal point in many a kitchen - where most conversations took place. And so it got its own nickname: THE JAWBOX.

These serving suggestions are equally well suited for a relaxing summer’s evening at home or for serving to impress your guests at a summer garden party. 

Gin and Ginger - The Perfect Swerve
We invite you to swerve the ordinary and discover the original, a feisty combination of refreshing ginger ale and Jawbox Gin.  Perfectly swerved.

  • 35ml Jawbox Gin
  • 100ml Premium ginger ale
  • Lime Wedge
  • Plenty of ice


  1. Pour the Jawbox Gin into an ice filled glass.
  2. Top up with some refreshing ginger ale.  
  3. Squeeze and drop in a lime wedge.  The original Belfast serve.
The Southside A.K.A Jawbox Mojito


  • 50ml Jawbox Gin
  • 15ml lime juice
  • 15ml sugar syrup
  • 6-8 mint leaves
  • Soda water
  • Lime wedgesIce

  1. In a tall glass muddle the mint leaves, lime juice and sugar syrup and stir. 
  2. Add some ice and Jawbox and stir, top up with soda water and continue stirring.
  3. Garnish with a mint sprig and lime wedge.
Jawbox Gin and Honeycomb Cocktail


  • 35ml Jawbox Gin
  • 100ml Ginger Ale
  • Honeycomb
  • Ice

  1. Pour Jawbox into a large ice filled gin goblet. 
  2. Top up with some refreshing ginger ale and finish with some shards of honeycomb.


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Introducing Trust at 111 by Nico

WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
Would you dine without knowing what's on the menu?

Sit back, relax and leave the rest up to the Chef!


A new dining concept by Chef Nico Simeone will be asking guests to do just that and leave the decision of what to eat up to him and his team of Chefs.

Scotland's most innovative Chef is launching the new dining experience at his popular Glasgow eatery, 111 by Nico. Guests dining at the Glasgow West End restaurant will be encouraged to sit back and TRUST the Chef as dish after dish of seasonal favourites are shared in front of their eyes.

Never the same dinner twice, the TRUST menu begins with an amuse bouche highlighting local ingredients, then guests enjoy individual courses such as pasta, lamb, asparagus or fish - the options will be endless. The five course tasting menu will end on a sweet note with a decadent dessert.

Nico Simeone said:

"The first and most important element of this new dining experience is the expression of trust. It’s not simply saying, 'I don’t care what you give me,' instead, it tells our chefs that the customer trusts their judgment about the current seasonal produce available to them and what the best courses could be at that particular moment."

The TRUST tasting menu is an immersive experience where guests will choose from a list of 12 ingredients. From July 6th at '111 by Nico' the team of Chefs will decide the courses that are served to a customer rather than the customer ordering off a menu.

The concept is a popular method in dining in Japan where patrons at sushi restaurants leave the selection to the chef, as opposed to ordering à la carte. The Japanese call "omakase" which means you trust in the chef. The chef will generally present a series of plates, beginning with the lightest fare and proceeding to the heaviest dishes. TRUST at 111 by Nico emulates this idea with seasonally available ingredients. 

Nico says: 

"Our team of Chefs are always finding creative, interesting ways to work with ingredients that will not only excite them but our guests too. In recent years the food scene has seen the rise of multiple cuisines and with TRUST we can explore these food trends and present them as part of a tasting menu to our customers."

TRUST will be priced at £25 per person and the 12 ingredients listed on each menu card will change on the 1st of every month. 111 by Nico will also offer guests the same attention to detail as your food element when it’s comes to drinks pairing with the dining experience.

Nico Simeone continues:

"Its important for us to offer an affordable dining experience without compromising on taste or portion size. A dining out experience doesn’t have to break the bank and with this five course tasting menu, we want to create a unique menu set within an unpretentious environment for people of all ages and all backgrounds to enjoy."

111 by Nico will also choose and design drinks that will enhance and compliment the TRUST menu. They will source fine wines from around the world to local craft breweries to independent Whisky and Gin Distilleries. The matching drinks pairing will cost £22. 


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Sunday, 22 April 2018

5 Questions - Chef Carlos Ragone, Head Chef at The Four Seasons Hotel, St Fillans, Perthshire


One of the reasons that I first started my 5 Questions posts was in order to tell the story of small producers who attended my local farmers market. Since then, many businesses and individuals have taken time out to answer 5 Questions including producers who have seen their products reach the shelves of the nations supermarkets and even a few Michelin chefs have found time to have their own stories told.
In an odd twist, I now work with a business that has very close links to the hospitality sector and I regularly hear business owners talk about the ‘superstars’ who work within their hotels or restaurants so it now seems even more important to me that I help spread the word of those unsung heroes of the hospitality sector.


Step forward Carlos Ragone, the recently appointed Head Chef at The Four Seasons Hotel in St Fillans, Perthshire. With almost 20 years of culinary experience in some of the UK’s most reputable hotels including The Blythswood Hotel in Glasgow as well as a wealth of experience gained at top restaurants on the French ski slopes, Carlos arrived at the The Four Seasons Hotel as Sous Chef last year before being promoted to Head Chef. In his new  role, he will oversee all food aspects of the hotels 2 AA Rosette restaurant as well as being heavily involved in staff development.
Here’s Carlos’ story;

How did you get started?

I started my professional culinary career at the age of 15 years, whilst attending high school.  It was my second part time job at a petite Trattoria in the heart of the west end of Glasgow, initially as an apprentice commis chef. I had worked previously in the ice cream parlour and pizza shop immediately next door until it closed due to financial difficulty.  
I had domestically trained myself to cook from the age of about 8 years. My father had passed away whilst I was seven years old, climbing in the French alps and as eldest son I felt obliged to support in any way I could my Mother and brother through the difficulty of the tragedy.  
So by the time I was accepted by the Trattoria I had a reasonably solid framework of basic kitchen skill and awareness, a good sense of duty and responsibility, and the desire to be working and earning whilst completing high school and gaining entry to university.  I spent four years on and off with the Trattoria, moving after a few years to a larger nearby competitor and facilitating in new business openings for the parent company as a senior chef de partie.  This paved the way for being offered my first head chef opportunity at the turn of 20 years old.  A pretty reasonably sized unit in Edinburgh, 150 capacity, and my first real taste of the challenges of running a very, very busy operation.

What’s the best piece of advice you would give someone looking to become a chef?

I would have to suggest, don’t.  In all reality it is a tough and gruelling occupation. That being said for the right minded individual, it can become a very rewarding and fulfilling career.  For someone beginning their journey to becoming a talented well rounded chef, I would have to suggest trying out in a part time capacity somewhere local to them, a small delicatessen, takeaway, pizzeria, restaurant, and doing a few shifts per week so that they could see at a steady pace whether it was a profession that they really wanted to proceed with.  

If so, enroll within a few educational food cookery courses to get a taste for the culinary training that might be of particular interest to them that they may not otherwise receive within the type of establishments they might initially find themselves working within.  
Finally, find a place of employment that allows them to develop in their particularl areas of culinary interest. Chefs often find themselves losing their passion for their work for numerous reasons, it’s vital that their interests are nourished in order to find fulfilment in what they do.

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

The fantasy?  To be semi-retired somewhere in the French Alps, riding big mountain powder, cooking solely for visiting family and friends. As for professional aspirations?  Back to multi-siteoperations, a step or two up the professional ladder, less time hands on day to day within a sole unit, and perhaps weekends spent with the Mrs and daughter, and time with the rest of the family.

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

Southern fried chicken.  I’m a glutton for the less than healthy option.  It’s soul food, when done beautifully, just fantastic and satisfying.

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

My invitation would extend to my late father, for the family to share a moment once more, to meet the new generation, so that my mother, brother and I could have something we had long missed.  Family is what counts most in our lives, that stands by ready to lift us up when we’ve fallen, to support us when others don’t. As for what would be on the menu?  A family friendly feast, that satisfied the sensations of all in attendance, simple soul satisfying food.


I would like to thank Chef Carlos for taking time out to answer 5 Questions and wish him all the best in his new role. 

The Four Seasons Hotel is now full open for the 2018 season and is only 70 miles from both Glasgow and Edinburgh so if you fancy a relaxing trip in the beautiful Perthshire countryside, check out the website for special offers.
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Thursday, 19 April 2018

Celebrate the Royal Wedding with Jawbox LOVE CLUB cocktail

Whilst celebrating the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on the 19th May you could toast their future happiness with Jawbox Gin’s Love Club Cocktail:

Ingredients: 
  • 50ml Jawbox Small Batch Gin
  • 10ml Lemon juice
  • 5ml Grenadine
  • 10ml Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 Egg white
  • Redcurrants to garnish

Method: 
  1. Dry shake all the ingredients for about 30 seconds
  2. Add ice and shake again until cold
  3. Double strain into a coupe glass and garnish with red currants.

 Jawbox is a classic style juniper-led gin that starts on the palate with citrus and juniper developing into pepper and subtle rootiness. It is triple-distilled very slowly in traditional copper pot stills and in small batches using a unique combination of botanicals including local Belfast Black Mountain Heather.

Distilled near Belfast, at the Jawbox Distillery located on a 300-acre 16th-century estate where the grain for the spirit is grown and harvested, Jawbox Gin is perfect for the adventurous, confident and curious gin drinker.

RRP: £30 for a 70cl bottle. ABV: 43%
Available from: Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Asda, masterofmalt.comthewhiskyexchange.com31dover.comdrinksupermarket.com and Amazon.

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