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    Perthshire UK
  1. Thanks for the positive comments. The river fish idea is an interesting one, and I'll try and explain the problems we can have with it; 'our' rivers are obviously the Tay and to a lesser extent the Isla and Ericht, all three are tied up like the proverbial gnat's chuff with all fishing rights basically sold to the highest bidder (no probs there, some of our regular guests are fishers, and very nice they are too). Any local wild salmon would most likely be poached (no pun intended) and the water bailiffs might have something to say! There is also a very strict catch-and-release policy in force at the moment. Most of our sea fish is caught on the East Scottish coast, which is not far away. We do have a lot of foraged ingredients, notably wild garlic, chanterelles and other fungi and a lot of locally shot venison and wood pigeons. Local customers supply us with rhubarb, plums, apples, quinces etc whenever possible. I prepare hand made chocolates which we give to diners and also sell in boxes. Wes (one of our chefs) grows veggies for us and I have recently planted a herb garden. Obviously all this is promoted on the menus as things become available. we keep our prices low as Jonny (Head Chef) is an absolute whizz at sourcing ingredients and avoiding waste. I'm really grateful for all the feedback you are giving me It helps to know that we are getting SOMETHING right! I take the point about the menu font, maybe time for a change?
  2. Thanks for replying, much appreciated. The reason I didn't put the name in is as mentioned in the first reply, vultures! However, I shall be daring and post a link to our (not very good - we're building a new one) website. http://www.theanglersinn.co.uk/ We have been in regular contact with one of the local papers and they are, to say the least, a bit 'sniffy' about editorial! We had a charity event a couple of weeks ago, which we were delighted to do as it was in a great cause and the people who came had a lovely evening. Both local papers mentioned the event without naming the venue! We do special offers, we give meal vouchers for local charity raffles etc., we make a big splash when the local race meeting is on. Our USP is not very U! Basically it is flexibility. We provide fantastic food quite a bit cheaper than other places in the area and we also cater for small events and private parties, providing special menus for birthdays, celebrations etc. What the customer wants, the customer gets. For instance one of our local regulars is celebrating his golden wedding with us tomorrow night, we have tailored a buffet to his needs, given him the best price we can and sole use of the restaurant. We will move heaven and earth to make sure a good time is had by all. Sorry, I'm wittering. It's just so frustrating, happy customers, a great atmosphere, a restaurant that any and all feel comfortable in (our customers range from the local 'aristos' to our KPs and their families & all points in between). And most importantly, damn good food!
  3. Good morning fellow Egulleters, I'm throwing myself on your mercy and asking for your thoughts and advice. A year ago my husband and his brother used the money they had earned from a previous family business (a very well thought of country house hotel) to buy a small(ish) restaurant located just north of a prosperous large town in Scotland. We brought in an excellent chef who we had worked with before, polished up the service, tidied the place up generally, spread the word as best we could etc etc. We now find ourselves in a fairly hideous position...the customers who do come in love the place, rave about the food -which is truly excellent- and repeat business is good, but we are finding it impossible to get new business in and turnover is just not good enough, by a long way. We have advertised extensively in the local press but cannot afford to do more on that front. We have had charity functions and we really do go the extra mile for our customers. We cater for vegans, people with allergies etc., willingly and happily. We use the very best of local produce and are as seasonal as possible. We are members of the Scotch beef Club, the slow food movement and our chef helps out at local schools. There is one obvious thing missing; we have never been reviewed. Our two local papers no longer do restaurant reviews and the Scottish national press don't seem to be interested. The UK press don't seem to venture north of the border very much. I'm the first to admit that none of us are great self-publicists - in fact we're rather shy But our wonderful chef is very charismatic and happy to handle that sort of thing. What do we do? I realise money is short for a lot of people at the moment but that should be another strength for us, we are told again and again how reasonable our prices are.... Honestly, all suggestions gratefully received. Thanks for giving me a place to rant!
  4. The AA has guides for hotels, restaurants (and pubs), so perhaps they save money by doubling up and reviewing both hotel and restaurant at the same time? You could well be right. In all honesty we weren't so bothered about the carpet thing, it was a good excuse to replace them! But the owner managed thing made us very cross indeed as my husband and I were in and out of the place every bloomin'day!
  5. Wow! What a totally brilliant program that was... An emotional roller coaster if ever there was one. I've just watched the whole thing over 3 days and am now knackered! I was more than happy with the result but would have liked the other finalist to be someone else ideally. One important thing Masterchef Australia showed me is that manipulating results, bitching, backstabbing and swearing all the time is not necessary to make great television. Fond as I am of Masterchef UK it doesn't compare at all, it's like the difference between Cadbury's Bourneville (pleasant enough) and Valrhona Manjari (the real deal). Edited to add that it's worth persevering with as the first few episodes are a bit dire.
  6. Hello Annie and welcome to the forum. Speaking as a (former) hotel owner I can best answer your original question by saying that Michelin and the AA are streets apart in one -IMO- very important respect, and that is that there is very little that is anonymous about an AA inspection! This is something that wasn't touched on during the Michelin tv program mentioned in another thread. For instance we strived for a depressingly long time to get a third AA rosette and were eventually informed that 'they' didn't like the the carpet in the hotel's hall! What relevance this had to the food is anyone's guess. Suffice to say we changed the carpet and got the 3 rosettes.... we were also informed that the AA prefer owner-run hotels, something we couldn't fulfill as we had an extremely good manager and no desire to get rid of him. This lead to a lowering of the hotel's overall percentage rating. All a bit potty if you ask me, it's not like we were part of some soulless chain!
  7. It was the guy with the short black hair who was putting everyone down. He did make it to the winners foursome though. ← Michael Isabella. He also said something about, "one less old lady to worry about" when the one contestant chose to keep her immunity. And during the quickfire he made a comment about how there's no way a girl could keep up with him. Gail commented about his asshattery on her blog ← 'Asshattery', love it! How do those sexist attitudes survive in this day and age? He should meet my daughter, she's a commis chef and she would eat him for breakfast, probably having sat on him and squashed him flat first. The Sous chef she works immediately under took the p*ss out of her when she started her job, she chucked a cabbage at him and shut him in the cold store! And she's NOT some huge, valkyrie type bruiser. They are good friends now.... Top Chef seems to have really upped the game this time, Michelin winners, James Beard nominees...I wonder if they are trying to put more distance between themselves and Hell's Kitchen?
  8. Guilty confession time, I'm loving it, as usual I hadn't realised that the new season had started so spent a happy few hours catching up on Youtube last night, total bliss. As usual the contestants are a very mixed bag, mostly incompetent and even more accident prone than ever. I am concerned for PTSD guy (Joseph?) as he obviously has some serious issues, I really hope he gets some help.
  9. That's exactly it, I have rather a large number of old aquarium heaters, most of them without thermostats of their own. OH has always taken the view that aquarium heaters are much safer and more reliable if controlled by an external thermostat and so far he's been proved right! A pair of 500wt will heat 6 gallons to about 90F in 15-20 minutes. I shall have to experiment...If not I'll try the deep fryer next.
  10. Thanks adey73 and joesan. Any excuse to get myself back onto ebay! The kettle idea is a good one, I've been known to do that to do an emergency water change in one of the (with actual fish) aquaria.
  11. Yeah, we are scratching (hehe) our heads for ideas for a suitable dust bath, hoping to combine it with a grit source? I don't know. Use a large litter box maybe? We are notorious for over thinking things. Before you know it, we'll have a veritable Chicken Disney World! ← Nice one! I doubt you could combine the two as they probably wouldn't want to eat what they bathe in! A small pot of oyster shell is enough, they don't eat much. Generally they will make their own dust bath remarkably quickly but if not a large cat tray with chinchilla sand in would make a great Disney World style 'chicken spa'. i am embarassed to admit that when I bought the 4 new layers my youngest daughter and I decided their 'house' was too plain for our little treasures so we painted it leaf green with white eaves and door
  12. protein. that's why skim actually makes great foam for espresso drinks. high protein content, no fat. thus the instability. but, when heated, it can set the protein and you get a little more stable foam. i think mcgee covers this pretty well in "on food and cooking". edited to add: you don't even need a bamix to do this. you can use a french press (i think i posted this in another forum or thread), rapidly moving the mesh up and down in skim milk to create a nice thick foam and then heat for a few seconds in the microwave to make a great espresso drink. ← Or alternatively heat first...OH does this every morning for his coffee. He uses a milk frother that looks like a very narrow French press with a much taller cylinder, it works really well.
  13. Thanks joesan. I could, of course, use more than one heater, one of the reasons I thought of them is that they are very responsive. I'm thinking of a small tank, maybe 18"x12"x12", how much water should I use in terms of gallons (or litres)? I am now going to look at an aquarium thermostat and see how high it goes.... The other bonus is that all aquarium eqipment is food-grade.
  14. Carlux, I am not surprised you are really hacked off, that is totally dreadful. I am disgusted by the way you have been treated. The only real problem I've had has been with attachments, particularly the grater. The grating drums themselves are fine, good, strong metal but they are attached with a stupid plastic ring. long story cut short I used mine for grating frozen beef heart for my fish and the ring just shattered and flew across the kitchen! Kenwood Uk's reaction was to tell me it wasn't designed for grating frozen meat, so I pointed out to them that there was nothing in the instruction booklet that said I couldn't so they sent me a new one. I also had a blender disintegrate once but they replaced that very quickly. I then bought the glass one instaed as it seemed more hygienic. As i said in my previous post Partmaster UK carry a great range of parts and I would be more than happy to send anything needed to european Kenwood users who are otherwise stuck. I don't know what Partmaster's polices are for sending outwith the UK, but I'm here to help if needed! I've actually had far mor problems with my Magimix food processor, the bowls crack all the bloody time and they wanted £65 for a new one! Scandalous! The newer one is 'only' £35, just as well as mine has just cracked again....Oh well, time to get creative with the duct tape I suppose.
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