New café to feature finest Argyll produce
LOCAL produce from Argyll is being given a chance to shine thanks to a new business venture.
Food From Argyll, a social enterprise, has opened its first café in the heart of Oban’s ferry terminal.
The new café is a dedicated outlet for the finest food and drink the area has to offer and is located on South Pier. The premises is in a former passenger area on the pier, which has been transformed into a cafe serving residents and visitors heading out on their travels.
Food From Argyll has employed three full-time staff to run the café all year round after collaborating with Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) and CalMac to find a use for the empty space.
The café is Food From Argyll’s first bricks-and-mortar establishment and the cooperative has been supported over the past nine years in part by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Argyll and Bute Council.
Customers will be able to buy coffee supplied by Home Ground Coffee of Helensburgh, along with cakes, rolls, soups and hot dishes featuring Argyll produce as their key ingredient. The menu will vary seasonally and showcase local food. For example, as the cooperative boasts a number of local smoked fish producers among its members, the café will feature one smokehouse each month.
Virginia Sumsion, from Food From Argyll, said: ‘Last year we co-hosted the Taste for Tourism conference which helped to inspire us to develop food tourism, of which the café on the pier is a prime example. It’s been a real learning curve turning an unused building into a new café for people to enjoy and experience the amazing food we have available throughout Argyll.’
The new staff – head chef Tommy Johnston, manager Claire Bruce and Shannon Feaks – have a wealth of experience.
During the development of the site, Argyll businesses have been used to provide signage, graphic art, carpentry and supplies, as the cooperative aims to source everything - not only food - as locally as possible. Helping the co- operative has been Helen MacKechnie, from Oban Chocolate Company, a member of Food From Argyll. Helen has been lending expertise and support to help get the project off the ground. The project will continue to receive support from the Argyll and the Isles Tourism Co- operative.
Winston Churchill, chairman of Food From Argyll, added: ‘We’d like to thank everyone who has shown their support and helped get this project going. Now we can all enjoy some of Argyll’s famous locally produced food in a lovely café by the sea.’
The café is open now but has its official launch on Tuesday July 26.
Shannon Feaks, left, head chef Tommy Johnston and cafe manager Claire Bruce will offer a seasonal menu featuring some of the finest local produce.