Freshness and sustainability – secrets of a great restaurant
The main component, whether it is meat, fish or vegetables, should be as fresh and vibrant as possible but this should also be true of the accompaniments. The rest of the dish should be just as fresh to help elevate the main attraction – the reason you ordered the dish.
The flavour you get from fresh ingredients really does make the dining experience better overall. It looks better on the plate with bright vibrant colours. The flavours stand out more and work better together. Well-paired drinks complement this even more and truly complete the dining experience.
That’s what drove us to build our own polytunnel and start growing many of our own vegetables and herbs. We are lucky to have an excellent fruit and vegetable supplier. Its produce is fantastic but, as a chef, to have a dish in your head and prepare it by collecting the ingredients a short walk from your kitchen is very satisfying.
We probably started a little late this year when we made the decision to do it. Some plants seem to grow at a steady rate and others never really establish themselves.
Our favourites currently are the lovely different kale we are growing (curly and black), exploding with flavour and becoming main elements on the plate on certain dishes. Our tomato plants have suddenly burst in to life and are growing away quite contentedly.
Our potatoes are not far from flowering so we are very excited to see how they turn out and our artichokes have been fun to watch grow and will also be interesting to see after we harvest them from the ground.
Our herbs that we use as garnish, to season and add flavour during cooking are also adding a different component and deeper flavour.
We welcome any guest to pop their head in the door and ask for a look round. If we are not busy, we will gladly talk you through it but best of all come and try our “crops”. We are sure you will enjoy them as much as we do. John McNulty, head chef patron, The Taynuilt Hotel and Restaurant