Fresh­ness and sus­tain­abil­ity – se­crets of a great restau­rant

The Oban Times - - Leisure -

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

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