Seeing as it’s summer, we decided to spotlight seven GMs of venues renowned for their excellent outdoor areas. Here’s what Alice Silverwood of The Old Mill had to say.
Alice, 40, is owner-manager of The Old Mill, Killearn, boasting a beer garden, vegetable garden and a yurt, which she runs with husband, Mark.
Originally from Brighton, they fell in love with Scotland when they helped friends out running the Loch Venachar Lochside Restaurant, moving here shortly afterwards, in 2012. They ran the Inn at Kippen from 2014 until acquiring The Old Mill a-year-and-a-half ago.
The restaurant has 50 covers, with an extra 20 in the yurt and the same in the bar. Alice looks after a total of 12 staff and her recipe for motivation is simple. She said, “We all get on really well, but the job still needs to get done and rather than setting random tasks for the staff, I get stuck in and clean the bin shed if needed. Equally, when the staff sees me on my laptop they know that I’m busy with admin stuff because we work closely as a team and each understands the way we all work.”
Alice is always striving to go beyond the bog standard in terms of the food and drinks offering. She explained, “We don’t serve any old bottle of plonk. We want to encourage repeat business, whether that’s locals or customers who are travelling. Freshly made food is expensive and this is not the easiest path, granted, but we are working our benefit because it’s the taste that they love.”
And speaking of taste, Mark’s been busy tending to the vegetable garden and the good news is that’s now bursting with raspberries, gooseberries and rose beds. It also has an indoor-outdoor area as well as the yurt of course, so, as Alice put it, “that the Scottish weather doesn’t get the better of us.”