We, it seems, are destined to be the eternal bridesmaid and not the bride I’m afraid!
Of the two potential awards we were on for winning during the last week of May, the Good Food Guide Scottish Restaurant of the Year and the CIS Scottish Chef of the Year, both of which we were finalists in and so many people very kind to vote for us in ended up with nothing sadly.
On Monday 23rd May it was announced that a restaurant in Edinburgh won Restaurant of the Year (an Edinburgh restaurant won last year too) so we made it to the final 4 two years running – next year we’ll win!
On Thursday 26th May we attended the CIS Awards dinner held at the Hilton in Glasgow, as one of the 4 finalists in Chef of the Year I felt I had a good chance of winning, sadly not to be, one of my former pupils won instead (another Edinburgh restaurant, the chef from another Edinburgh restaurant won the ear before too!).
I had said all along that if it was not me that won I really hoped it would be Paul Kitching of 21212, Paul worked for me at restaurant 74 in Canterbury from 1984 – 1987 and has gone on to great things so definitely the next best thing to winning it myself, good thing is he can’t win it again so it leaves the field open!
Thank you to all that voted for us we really appreciate it and I will be asking for your votes again next year too, let’s break this strangle hold Edinburgh seems to have on catering in this country!
As I’m sure many of you are aware (I’ve sent emails and given out the voting postcards to everyone that’s stayed over the last two months) we are one of the 4 front runners for Good Food Guide Scottish Restaurant of the Year awards 2011. We were runners up last year but I really want to win it this year.
Well, I’ve just found out that I am in the final 4 for Scottish Chef of the Year in the CIS Scottish Catering Awards. I’m really thrilled. I probably shouldn’t be publicising this just yet as the nominees are not announced for a few days but I just can’t contain my excitement! I just had to tell everyone about it.
I’m alongside some illustrious company of course so there is absolutely no guarantee that I’ll win but I can dream can’t I?
One of the other finalists for Chef of the Year is Paul Kitching of 21212 in Edinburgh, Paul of course worked for me many years ago when we had our restaurant in Canterbury and coincidentally as the winner of last years Good Food Scottish Restaurant of the Year was also one of my former employees I suppose it is almost as good if they win instead of me – although it’s not really!
Watch this space, both awards are announced towards the end of May, to win one would be fantastic, to win both – well – I just wouldn’t be able to put it into words.
Over the last few months I’ve struggled trying to get to grips with our booking system and the way it treats and takes bookings for our self catering lodges, as a result it has been showing the wrong prices most of the time – too high! I think I have now sorted it though, or at least I hope I have. If you are looking to book our lodges on line and they still seem too expensive then please call me to clarify the pricing. Basically it ought to work out at between £60 and £95 per day depending upon the time of year, either way it is a great price for 4 people. Don’t forget though that we can put in extra beds if needed for a modest charge, cots are free and dogs are welcome. It is now possible to book these by the day. It used to be minimum 2 days and was all very complicated, at least now it ought to be easier – if I’ve got it right this time!
I was just thinking the other day that it had been a long time since I wrote anything new on our blog so it is about time I rectified that situation with some good news.
I’ll start with a big big thank you to all our customers and friends that voted for us in the Scottish Hotel Awards becasue we picked up 3 gongs at the awards that were held last night, we weren’t there ourselves becasue we were too busy to get away – which of course is good in itself.
Chef Medaillie d’Or 2011 (I got one in 2009 too)
Breakfast Taste & Provenance Award
Rural Restaurant Special Commendation
Then on top of these I have just found out this morning that we are in the top four as possible Scottish Restaurant of the Year wih the Good Food Guide, once again a huge thank you to all that have taken the time to fill in the postcards and vote for us, it means an enormous amount not only to Jane and I but also to all our staff, it makes it all worthwhile!
Entries and recommendations are still being taken through to the end of April I belive so there is still time yet for us to get more votes! We were runners up last year so I really do want to win it this year. Last years winner, Jean Michel of La Garrique in Edinburgh used to be my Sous Chef – many moons ago but I guess it is still nice that if you’re going to be beaten into second place it is by some one that you tarined!
The weather has been really good here in South West Scotland and it’s a beautiful day today as I write this. We’ve got some great offers on at the moment and some great packages for 2011 so check out the web site for more details.
Note to oneself: Update the blog more often.
3rd of January and even though it is still a bank holiday up here it feels as though the festive season is now well and truly over for another year, the decorations are still up but only for a couple of more days.
It has been a really bad December for all I think with the weather the way it was, almost every day throughout December we suffered frozen pipes somewhere in the hotel but thankfully none of them resulted in leaks although we did see rather more of the plumber than I would have liked.
We had a very good Christmas and New Year this year with some lovely people on both and it even snowed Christmas Day to add to the charm (thankfully very little though). Before the end of the week I will have our 2011 Christmas & New Year Package details up on the web site as we have already had people enquiring.
We’ve got some great plans for the year ahead; firstly we are going to be holding some Murder Mystery Nights starting this month. I’m also putting together a number of different packages for the coming year, one of them a photography course with Ed Baxter of Thornhill. He is a renowned photographer and will run a number of two and three day courses for us, see the web site for details.
Fishing packages too, come and learn how to fly fish during February for Grayling on the Nith, a days tuition for as little as £160 per person per day this includes a days fly fishing and tuition on the Nith throughout January fishing for grayling, accommodation, dinner and breakfast. The Scottish record for a grayling is a little over 3lbs and I’m certain there are easily fish of that size out there waiting to be caught and to get you into the record books.
We also plan to hold a number of wine dinners throughout the year with a specific wine maker present each time to talk you through the wines and their vineyard and philosophy.
Check out the web site as we’re offering crazy prices for multiple night DBB stays at the moment too so come and take advantage of a few nights away to get over Christmas from only £60 per person per night – fabulous value. These prices are not bookable online, you can only get this deal by calling us and booking on the phone or by email.
It’s been a strange week this one, firstly the weathers been all over the place. Warm sunny days like today, days so wet that I thought it would never stop raining and cold frosty ones that put paid to my artichokes. But hey that’s Scotland for you. The rain was so heavy on Friday that we were getting very worried about the river level, then it suddenly stopped and within an hour the river had fallen over 2 feet thus avoiding disaster. It continues to fall and should be in tip top condition by tomorrow for fishing. That reminds me, I really must try to get out fishing at least once this year before it’s too late, I’ve not dipped a rod in the river since October 2008 !
We had a shooting party in during the week for two nights, all really nice guys, poor things though were out in all that rain, still they hit the sunshine the next day. We have another shooting group coming in tonight for 6 nights. We look forward to these guys coming as they come every year and are great fun too.
Last week-end of course I was at the BBC Good Food show on the Saturday and then doing a cookery demo in Kirkcudbright on the Sunday. Sold lots of books too. We are featured in a new cook book called Relish Scotland, published just a couple of weeks ago and it’s a really nice book so look out for it, or pick a copy up when you next come to Blackaddie – signature is free!
It’s been a long time since I wrote a blog and have realised that since the last one the Good Food Guide has been published. We did really well in it and thanks to all that wrote in for us.
We’ve got a great pre-Christmas deal on the web site if you fancy a couple of days away somewhere, from as little as £65 per person per night DBB – beat that!
The end of September again and our 3 year anniversary slipped by and we almost didn’t notice it, 3 years to the day last Monday.
It’s been a manic summer and the great thing is we are still busy and look like we may well be through to November which will be great. Once again lots have happened since this time last year.
We now have two rosettes for our food from the AA – one short of what we deserve but they recognise that eventually I’m sure. We made to the last three of Chef of the Year and Hotel Restaurant of the Year in the Scottish Food Awards earlier this year, the only place to be in two categories. We are now in the Good Food Guide for 2011 with a great entry and 4/10, again one less than we deserve but they will recognise it next year I’m sure.
Once again the garden has been stunning but the frost last week-end finished everything off overnight, including the majority of my new vegetable garden.
Lots of customers returning again and again while also recommending new people to us all the time which is fantastic.
To celebrate our three year anniversary how about this for an offer you really should not refuse, 3 nights Dinner Bed & Breakfast for the price of 2.
So for as little as £360 two people can stay for three nights with dinner each night in the price – saving a minimum of £180. This runs from now to the end of November. When booking mention the offer in the Newsletter.
Oh by the way, Christmas and New Year are filling up so if you’re thinking of coming pick up the phone before it’s too late
The 2011 Good Food Guide has been published and for the first time Blackaddie is featured. Thank you to everyone that has written to them about us, it really is a guide that goes almost (not entirely) on reader recommendations.
We were anticipating a good entry and while we only scored 4/10 I had said before the book came out that I would be just about satisfied with a 4. Personally I think we deserve 5/10 but it is our first time in so it’s a good start.
My only reservation about our score is that the editor of the guide ate with us – on a lunchtime when she was the only one in the restaurant. I know we should be good all the time and we are I just think it is not fair to base a judgement on a lunchtime visit only. The menu is never as adventurous and essentially we are all about dinner; we do very few lunches so never really concentrate that much on them although they are still as good as dinner only cheaper.
The review uses some great words, one such as outstanding, phenomenal, delectable, absolutely first class food, textbook, so I shouldn’t really complain I guess.
Once again thank you to all that wrote but please do not stop writing, 2012 is another year, lets hope we get our 5 then!
I suppose technically summer is over and we are now well into autumn, certainly the garden is starting to show some wear, we’ve even had a frost on a couple of mornings recently. Today however the sun is shinning fit to burst so any thoughts of autumn are pushed to the furthest reaches of the mind. Summer is still here, we are still quite busy so all is well.
We’ve been serving some stunning food of late – even if I do say so myself. The boys in the kitchen are doing a great job. The wild mushrooms that I am normally out picking for the menu at this time of year are virtually non existent at the moment, it’s been so dry that they are just not growing; they keep trying but then come to nothing. The kitchen garden, considering it’s the first year for it, has done well and it has given me more idea of what to grow for next year too.
Next week – on the 16th we have a special Gourmet Dinner Evening in support of Scottish Food Fortnight but more importantly in support of Savour the Flavours – a D&G organisation trying to promote D&G as a food destination. We have some fantastic producers of world class products int h is area of Scotland and it is important for us to support them. The dinner we are hosting is billed as 6 courses but knowing me it will be more like 8! Called A Taste of Sunnyside Farm it is a menu based on Dominic Smiths products from Sunnyside from where we get our pork, veal, some lamb and beef. It will be a real treat – not cheap but then a menu like this and preceded by a champagne reception means it will be great value.
The good food guide is due out soon – and we’re in!! I do not know what we’ve scored yet but I have a copy of the guide on order so I’ll know soon enough – Keep your fingers crossed for a good entry for us and thank you to all that have written in to them.
I know John has been dreading seeing his name appear here but he has no need to worry. For those of you who come to Blackaddie regularly you’ll have found it difficult keeping up with the comings and goings of our Restaurant Managers, I know I have. To date none have lasted that long, I’m aware that I am difficult to work for at times as I have exacting standards, but I’m only difficult to please nothing worse than that, I just want everything to be right – all the time. I don’t go around ranting and raving or shouting and screaming either, Gordon Ramsey and I do not have a lot in common!
John, our latest recruit, has been with us for almost 5 weeks now and is settling in well. He is extremely keen and just wants what’s best for Blackaddie, which is all I ask too. A Glaswegian he has lived stateside for 6 years only just returning to his native Scotland and we are his first job back here.
He brings with him an American outlook on service, no bad thing at all; they seem to understand service over the pond far better than we do over here. Nothing is ever too much trouble, nor should it be! My wish is that he stays for a long time; I think he should as he has the desire to.