New café to fea­ture finest Ar­gyll pro­duce

The Oban Times - - News -

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.

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