HIGH FRYERS: SCOTLAND’S CHEF-PATRONS MAKING THEIR MARK ON THE SCOTTISH CULINARY SCENE
PETER McCKENNA AND IVAN STEIN The Gannet, Glasgow Peter and Ivan met eight years ago when they were working for ABode in London. They opened The Gannet five-and-ahalf years ago. Peter experience includes working for a Saudi Prince and a Russian oligarch, while Ivan, an Oxford Uni graduate, dipped his toe into the hospitality by working for free in restaurants before joining ABode . In terms of the challenges of being a chef-patron, Peter said, “After being open this amount of time, it’s about keeping the momentum going by attracting staff. A few staff have left, gone to London to get experience and the rejoined us, so we have a solid team in the kitchen that allows Ivan and myself to concentrate more on the creative side. We also now get 35% of our supply chain direct from source. For example, we got a whole hogget from our supplier in the border. We also make our own bread and brioche and like to be as close to zero waste as possible.” Their latest venture is a new burger venture in Finnieston, El Perro Negro, with another one in the planning.
CRAIG GRANT The Sorn Inn, Ayrshire Craig Grant was born in Scotland but cut his teeth at catering school at Westminster College London. His first head chef position was at the Rookery Hotel in Cheshire. He’s now chef-patron at The Sorn Inn, Ayrshire. Said Craig, “I got to the point of really wanting to return to Scotland and fancied going it alone and so, with my dad’s backing, I acquired The Sorn Inn and I’m still here 17 years later.” He said, “I love the day-to-day conversations with customers when they come to the kitchen door to give me their feedback. I took a dish off the menu after 17 years – a chargrilled supreme of chicken with banana rice and fruit curry sauce –and I was nearly lynched. Needless to say it’s since been reinstated.” In terms of the business, Craig recognises that times are a wee bit tough. He said, “Supermarket meal deals and the like are really hurting country pubs like ours. But we are fighting back by being creative and doing our own deals and incentives, like voucher redemption schemes.”