The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and that’s when it is often used for jam-making.
Dot loves cooking and is a strong advocate for foodbearing plants in the garden landscape. The jam-making side of the business started when she spotted a red pepper jelly in an English magazine and made it, then pointed it out to Bevan.
“Look at this jelly – isn’t it gorgeous! Would you like to sell it in your restaurant?”
“No mum, I wouldn’t,” was his flat reply.
Dot wore him down. She called it ‘Red-as-your-hair Jelly’, a play on her trademark pink hair, and sold it in her gift shop. It flew out the door.
Today they sell 20,000 to 30,000 jars of jam a year, made with fruit and spices, and characterised by their wild names. There’s Granny Smith’s boozy-fig-jam, Bev’s bugger-the-birdscherry-jam, Dot’s eat-me-ina-kilt-real-scots’-rhubarband-ginger-jam.
“They toned the labels down a bit,” says Dot. “But the sillier the label, the more it sold!”
All of this success with food was obvious to Dot from the very beginning.
“I didn’t know Bevan was a great chef,” she says. “He was always a very hungry child. I said to him, ‘There is only one thing you can be when you leave school ‘cos you’ll never feed yourself! You’ll have to be a chef!’”