Isle of Coll Hotel | Argyll
Revered for the quality of its fresh fish and seafood, much of which is landed virtually at the door, The Isle of Coll Hotel is the hub of the island life for both residents and visitors. And, it's easy to see why. EatScotland.com goes fishing for some secrets'¦
1. Who past or present would you like to cook a meal for and why
Jonathan Ross. He makes me laugh until my sides ache & he loves his food. What a great night that would be.
2. Have you ever been really nervous about cooking for anyone
Yes, just about everyone from February 1984 for about 10years. Those were tough learning years but it is OK now
3. Where or from whom did you get your desire to become a chef
Originally there was no desire to become a chef. I had plenty of hospitality experience but none in the kitchen. We moved to Coll to take over the hotel & there was no cook & not many customers. So, along with Delia's compete cookery course & help from locals around me, I learnt the basics & have continued learning ever since. Now, I wouldn't do anything else.
4. Quick and easy meal after service
I try to avoid eating after service or I would be as big as a house! We eat with our staff at 5pm, before everything kicks off, usually pasta, casserole or a curry, energy food. When we have friends over we have supper with them after work. Seafood is always my first choice, folded through some spaghetti with chilli, ginger, garlic & a splash of olive oil. Simple & delicious with a crisp salad on the side.
5. Where is your favourite restaurant in Scotland and why
Ee-Usk in Oban. They serve seafood as I like it. Fresh & simple allowing the fantastic natural flavour of the seafood speak for itself & wow, what a location. I could, I have, watched that harbour all evening. Perfect relaxation.
6. What would you say is your signature dish
Hebridean seafood casserole - A selection of all our seafood, Lobster, king prawns, scallops, monkfish & mussels with the sauce made from prawn stock, some home made tomato sauce & a touch of cream. A truly delicious platter
7. Which celebrity chef would you most like to cook for you
Heston Blumenthal. Which I know must seem an odd choice after what I have said about clean & simple food, but I have had the privilege of eating at the Fat Duck once & it left a lasting impression. It wasn't just a fantastic dinner. It was about a man pushing the boundaries of food science with passion, absolute perfection & with a touch of humour for good measure
8. What gadget could you not live without in your kitchen
My Robot Coupe. For years I had a domestic food processor. A Robot coupe was well down the list of priorities when we were building up the business. Now, I do not know how I managed without it. It must save us hours every day.
9. What is your favourite Scottish ingredient
Shellfish, every time. Must I choose just one Possibly crab comes in just in front of those great big juicy prawns or subtle & sweet lobsters. The robust flavour & texture are unique & delicious, on its own or in crab cakes & chowders. I love using it & the customers can't get enough of it.
10. Who is your favourite Scottish supplier
Henderson shellfish - Innes helped by John works on Tarka out of Coll. They supply all our lobsters & crab. I phone them at the end of service with what I need for the next day. They deliver to my kitchen door, every day without fail. If they have to leave the island & not fish for a few days they fill keep boxes for me so I never run out.
11. Give three words that sum you up as a chef.
Firm, fair, fun.
12. What made you join EatScotland
We were encouraged to join through VisitScotalnd during one of our annual inspections for the hotel
13. What do you feel EatScotland will add to your business
Heighten the profile of our business & encourage customers to visit our beautiful island & sample real island hospitality!
The Isle of Coll Hotel is the hub of the island life for both residents and visitors. It is a small, family run establishment offering a spectrum of food to suit all needs throuhgout the day. The Lunch and Dinner menus emphasise the abundance of fresh fish and seafood much of which is landed virtually at the door, and these are supplemented with an ever-changing specials chalkboard reflecting daily availability. The first class raw materials are handled simply, allowing the natural taste of the sea to speak for itself.