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Thursday, 29 September 2016

"The Spanish Butcher" to Open in Glasgow

The Spanish Butcher, Glasgow restaurants, Gerry's Kitchen

Independent restaurant group, Rusk & Rusk, are set to introduce their latest concept to Glasgow’s Merchant City this November when they open The Spanish Butcher at 80 Miller Street.

The Spanish Butcher will be the third addition to the groups growing portfolio, with award winning venues including Hutchesons Bar & Brasserie and The Butchershop Bar & Grill already well embedded in Glasgow’s restaurant scene.

With Spanish and Mediterranean flavours at the heart of the inspiration for The Spanish Butcher, diners will be treated to the highest grade Galician Beef, fine Iberico Ham and fresh seafood alongside a wide selection of Spanish wines, beers & cava.

The 3'600sq foot venue on Miller Street will house a 100-cover restaurant, a wine and cocktail bar and will offer the very best authentic, beautifully sourced produce. Group development Chef, John Molloy said "As a chef you want to work with the best produce in the world and this is as good as it gets. Food is seen as central to Spanish culture and the depth of flavour that Basque beef will offer on our menu at The Spanish Butcher will be extraordinary."

Rusk & Rusk restaurants are already highly regarded for sourcing the most premium quality produce and while The Butchershop Bar & Grill is widely renowned as one of the leading lights for Scotch beef anywhere in the UK, The Spanish Butcher will extend this authority geographically as it seeks to plate up the highest standard of beef sourced directly from Northern Spain.

Co-owner James Rusk said: "We are well known in Glasgow, and beyond, for working hard to serve up the most flavoursome cuts of Scotch beef to be found. With The Spanish Butcher we are taking this approach further afield, introducing a very different flavour profile with Spanish reared Galician beef".

Known for their eye for style, detail and interior design, Rusk & Rusk will aim to emulate the calibre of visual aesthetic that each of their current venues boast, Hutchesons Bar & Brasserie is regularly quipped as 'Scotland’s Most stylish' restaurant.

With chic, modern New York loft-inspired interiors, including exposed brickwork, crittall glass windows and highly polished concrete flooring, The Spanish Butcher promises to be as eye catching as it is delicious. Group co-founder Louise Rusk said: “for us, a restaurant is about more than just the food; it’s about the whole experience, the theatre of the moment with the setting playing a crucial part in that. Combining our focus on food, service and design we love to create lifestyle dining environments that are dynamic yet relaxed, spaces we to love to dine in".

Glasgow based architects Mosaic have been appointed by Rusk & Rusk to develop the new city centre restaurant and work is currently underway. The company plan to create 40 new jobs as they expand their restaurant portfolio in Scotland.

The Spanish Butcher will open it’s doors mid- November 2016, becoming the latest addition to Miller Streets burgeoning restaurant and bar scene. From it’s high quality food offering to its designer interior, the venue will aim to become an immediate hit with the people of Glasgow.


Great Scottish Runners Rewarded with Half Price Deals at Taste Buchanan

Taste Buchanan, Street food, pop-up restaurants, Bank of Scotland, Great Scottish Run
Taste Buchanan, Street food, pop-up restaurants, Bank of Scotland, Great Scottish Run

It’s the Great Scottish Run this weekend (1 & 2 October) and pop-up food hub Taste Buchanan at Buchanan Galleries have come up with something to refuel and reward hungry racers.

Medal-holders from any of the races over the weekend will be treated to a ‘buy one get one half price’ offer on presentation of their medal.

With everything from authentic wood-fired pizzas, fragrant steamed bao buns, gourmet hotdogs and delicious cheese burgers, there will be a winning meal for everyone. Taste Buchanan’s own Scottish craft beer and cocktail bar will also be providing well-deserved refreshments, and there will be sweet treats from Designer Cakes by Paige.

For the real fitness fanatics, Union Waffles will also be serving up healthy protein waffles and shakes to repair aching muscles and tired legs.

The Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run will host events over two consecutive days. Super Saturday (1 October) will kick off proceedings with the Toddler Dash, Junior Great Scottish Run and Family Mile. Sunday (2 October) will see over 15,000 racers face either a 10k or gruelling half marathon around Glasgow.

Taste Buchanan opened in mid-August, transforming the top floor of the Buchanan Galleries into a colourful pop-up food hub with an ever changing line up of Scotland’s best food producers.

Taste Buchanan is open seven days a week from 11am to 7pm most days, 8pm on a Thursday, and 6pm on a Sunday.

Twitter @TasteBuchanan


Gin Lovers Urged to Show "Ginerosity of Spirit"

Pickering's Gin, Ginerosity Gin
Gin lovers urged to show "Ginerosoty of Spirit" as world's first social enterprise gin launched.
An Edinburgh distillery is urging gin lovers to show some “ginerosity of spirit” and buy the world’s first social enterprise gin.
Pickering’s Gin founders Marcus Pickering and Matt Gammell have teamed up with social enterprise experts to produce the Ginerosity spirit, the profits of which will be poured into good causes.
Together they have formed a new company, Good Spirits (Scotland) CIC, in partnership with social enterprise entrepreneur Chris Thewlis, Dave Mullen of marketing agency Story, and drinks industry and export specialist David Moore. The team of philanthropists launched the gin at Pickering’s distillery in Edinburgh’s Summerhall.
The new company said it would invest profits from sales of Ginerosity into projects that will help and support under-privileged or disadvantaged young people.
Mr Pickering said: “Supporting good causes is something that’s very close to our hearts, and something we’ve been involved in for many years. But for a while we’ve wanted to do something more formal with our gin company. Producing this unique gin is the perfect way to achieve that.”
Mr Pickering said he was “furiously passionate about giving something back to the community”, adding: “This is all about turning young people’s fortunes around, and I’m exceptionally proud that we’re the first to do it. We want to support disadvantaged and disenfranchised young people in the UK, as well as give opportunities to young people and children in other countries.”
Pickering's Gin, Ginerosity Gin
He added: “By bringing in Chris Thewlis, Dave Mullen and David Moore, we’ve put together a superb team of industry leaders, experts in their field, who bring their own knowledge and skills, as well as their contacts, to make this unique project happen.”
Pickering’s co-founder Mr Gammell added: “We’ve established the company, we’ve created a gin that looks and tastes beautiful, and we’ve got a super cause to support: helping young people build themselves a better future. Now we’ve just got to get this gin into the market so people can start buying the product and help give these deserving young people a step up.”
Ginerosity will be available in bars, good off licences and online. Mr Gammell said the gin recipe itself had been developed to be both accessible but complex, and had made using responsibly sourced botanicals, while the brand and look had been developed by Dave Mullen and his creative team at Story.
He added: “In the creation of Ginerosity we wanted to produce a gin that was both traditional in style while being smooth and refreshing as a gin and tonic. We have taken a range of 10 botanicals from the traditional juniper, lemon, lime and Angelica to the more unusual lemon myrtle and heather to create a superb gin of real character, which combines fresh citrus flavours with a gentle modern twist."
The new company said its profits would go towards enabling young people to develop life skills that would help them find work and build a stable, positive future. The social enterprise is now recruiting an independent panel whose members would decide on the direction of the funding.
Mr Thewlis, who also runs the social enterprise bar group Beer for Good, said: “Ginerosity is a perfect example of a social enterprise being used to help the community, and shows how a private business, a brilliant idea and some big-hearted individuals can come together and make a meaningful difference to people’s lives.
“Social enterprise is all about profit share for good, and I'm especially delighted that we're going to be using this business model for a bespoke gin. We're not asking anyone to make a sacrifice - this is a bloody great gin! - we're just asking people to buy Ginerosity so they can make a positive difference to the public good from the profits made. "


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Feria De La Tapa - 1st-2nd October, Puerto Del Carmen

Lanzarote, Puerto Del Carmen, Feria De La Tapa, Gerry's Kitchen
We are halfway through our holiday in Lanzarote and have already had a bellyful of the great food and drink that the island has to offer.
The highlight of our trip will be the Feria De La Tapa (organised by Saborea Lanzarote) which takes place this coming Saturday and Sunday. The tapas festival will see some of the islands best restaurants, local producers, bodegas and craft brewers set up stall in the Old Harbour in Puerto Del Carmen.
Each of the food stalls will be offering tapas, pinxos or small servings of some of their favourite dishes whilst the bodegas will have an almost endless supply of the fantastic red, white and rosé wines available to taste, all for just €1 each. You simply buy a strip of €1 tickets and grab a taster at any of the stalls that catch your eye.
In addition to all of the great food and drink on offer, there will be cooking demos from some of the islands top chefs, live music and activities for children too. The event is always well attended by both locals and holiday makers so if you haven't made plans for this weekend and you're lucky enough to be in Lanzarote, get along to the Veradero from 6pm on Saturday evening or 11am on Sunday morning and sample some of the best food and drink from the island.
To find out more about how the event works, check out this review that I was asked to do for Lanzarote Information last year.


Monday, 26 September 2016

Lerwick Brewery Launch their Beer in Cans

Lerwick Brewery, 330ml cans, craft beer, Gerry's Kitchen
Lerwick Brewery, who hail from Shetland, the most northerly islands in the UK, are joining the craft beer in cans revolution. The brewery have now released their flagship 60 North lager, Lerwick IPA and Azure in 330ml cans.
The brewery already offer their beers in bottles but have recognised the growing trend surrounding craft beer in cans. The USA has led the way on the canned beer front, with lots of popular craft breweries offering their beer in cans rather than bottles, and it already appears that this trend is going to be mirrored in the UK, with a number of craft breweries turning to the canned option.
Canning beers offers a number of advantages over bottling them and Rhanna Turberville, Head Brewer, explained why canned beer tastes better than bottled; “Cans are a much better way of storing beer. They stop it from being damaged by exposure to light which causes a chemical reaction in the beer, altering the taste. They also minimise air contamination so keep the beer fresher. This means our canned beer tastes like it’s just come straight from our brewery tanks”
Isla Mercer, Chief Executive, said, “We’re delighted to now be able to offer our beer in an alternative to glass bottles. Cans are much lighter and easier to store since they can be stacked, so are ideal for maximising space on the shelves of shops and bar fridges. They can also be used for events where glass isn’t permitted”.
Cans of 60 North Lager, Azure and Lerwick IPA will be available in bars and shops around Scotland.


5 Questions - Hazel Magill, Head Chef @ Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle, Northern Ireland

Gerry's Kitchen, 5 Questions, Hazel Magill, Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, Culloden Estate & Spa, Paul McKnight, Hastings Hotels, Gordon Ramsey, Raymond Blanc
Myself and Nicola are not long back from a fantastic overnight stay at the Culloden Estate & Spa, one of six hotels owned by Hastings Hotels, Northern Ireland's premier hotel groups. Earlier this year I published the answers to Executive Chef Paul McKnight's 5 Questions and we were lucky enough to have Paul cook for us whilst we were there (Full review coming soon). The owners of Hastings Hotels had also offered us the chance to stay over at one of their other venues, the stunning Slieve Donard Resort & Spa but due to a lack of holiday days, we had to decline their kind offer. Despite the fact that we couldn't get along, I had read that the Head Chef at Slieve Donard, Hazel Magill, was making a name for herself in the world of food and drink so I fired my 5 Questions off to her to see if she would let me tell her story.

Hazel began her career aged just 17 at Hastings Hotels and quickly rose through the ranks before finding her true love for the finer details and a passion for pastry. After 24 years at Hastings, Hazel became Head Pastry Chef at La Mon Hotel & Country Club building a team over 7 years. When the opportunity to be involved in the opening of Belfast’s first licensed Patisserie Miel et Moi arose Hazel grabbed it and worked to establish the venue as one of South Belfast's most refined and elegant restaurants. Now Hazel can be found in the kitchen of Newcastle's most iconic Slieve Donard Hotel. Hazel also works with cancer charities including the cancer fund for children to organise ‘dinner with a difference’ – where 7 of NI’s award winning chefs came together to create a charity fund raising meal.

Gerry's Kitchen, 5 Questions, Hazel Magill, Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, Culloden Estate & Spa, Paul McKnight, Hastings Hotels, Gordon Ramsey, Raymond Blanc
Here's Hazel's story;

How did you get started?

My career was on I different path, however the last year at school my father passed away so this threw me into a confused spin. I found myself joining my friends on a half catering half business course. As a child I spent my summers away in my grandfather’s country retreat far from the troubles in Belfast. This is where I learnt to bake so naturally I moved towards the catering course.

After my year at a prestigious catering college in Belfast, and at Thames Valley University, where I graduated with a BSc in Culinary Arts, I was introduced to Frank Hughes, in 1990 the Managing Director back then at Hastings Hotels. That is where it all began for me, having flown the nest here, I am back to the nest as Executive Head Chef at the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa.

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to aspiring chefs?

​Keep smiling, never give up & never give into panic!! Put the effort in, surround yourself with positive people, absorb & learn from them as I did when working with Paul McKnight the fabulous Executive Chef at the 5 star Culloden Estate and Spa. When something goes wrong take a step back count to ten then start over again. Even the darkest clouds pass sunshine reappears. Always be reflective on your performance even when things go well. I was taught this by some very famous chefs whom I got to cook with during my career at the Culloden, another Hastings Hotel, namely Gordon Ramsay and Raymond Blanc.

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

Succeeding in my current role; which I view as my biggest challenge to date is my goal. It was totally unexpected and an exciting turn in my career path to become Executive Head Chef at the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa, my favourite Hastings Hotel!!

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

Chocolate and Ginger Pave. I am not such a chocolate lover however it's a touch of luxury and pleasure that everyone enjoys, I love the marriage of these 2 flavours combined. Earlier in my career I specialised as a pastry chef and I completed pastry courses in Paris, but my favourite were the chocolate based courses at the culinary institute Le Notre and DGF.

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

As I get older and my next big milestone is on my horizon, it would have to be my parents. Having lost both at early age they did not get to see what I have achieved or the values instilled in me growing up or the person I have become. I am my father’s daughter.

I guess here I could be all false and create a show stopper, however I enjoy time with family/friends which in this industry is a time to treasure. So I would cook something of comfort for me and there is nothing better than simple roast chicken dinner with champ of course coming from Ireland, followed by apple tart tatin with obvious chef twists not to be too boring.

Gerry's Kitchen, 5 Questions, Hazel Magill, Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, Culloden Estate & Spa, Paul McKnight, Hastings Hotels, Gordon Ramsey, Raymond Blanc
Our stay at Culloden Estate & Spa was delightful and having spent a little time on the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa website, I'm disappointed that we had to decline the offer to stay. Oh well, it looks like we'll need to find an excuse to get back to Northern Ireland in the coming months.
I would like to thank Hazel for taking time out to answer 5 Questions and wish her every success for the future.
If you fancy having Hazel cook dinner for you, check out the latest deals available at Slieve Donard Resort & Spa.


Saturday, 24 September 2016

Dunkeld Hotel toasts Gill's Return from Distillery

Gill Donaldson has returned to Dunkeld’s award-winning Atholl Arms Hotel as General Manager, bringing with her extensive experience of Scotland’s hospitality and food industries.

Latterly she was Catering and Events Manager of the Glenturret Distillery in Crieff for five years, working for two different contracting companies. Before that she spent more than three years at the Atholl Arms as Chef and then joint Manager.

Gill is a former Food Hall Manager at the House of Bruar at Blair Atholl and Dobbies Garden Centres. She ran her own restaurant in Edinburgh where she also worked at five star hotels the Caledonian and Balmoral.

Neil Sinclair, who owns the hotel with his wife Christine, commented: “We’re delighted to welcome Gill back with her excellent background in management, food and customer service.”

The Atholl Arms Hotel, whose RiverView has has been voted the Best Informal Dining Hotel Restaurant in Scotland’s Central and Fife region, recently opened a new Garden Terrace on the banks of the River Tay.