This week .. in the Spotlight :
Yup, that says grazing table. This lady knows her food and loves nothing more than family style cooking! PERFECT 🙂
Let’s hear what the lovely Carole has to say :
I struggled for ages to come up with a name for my catering business – mainly because I wanted something that put across the ‘sense’ of what we do. Then one Sunday I was pulling things together in the kitchen for friends coming round later in the afternoon. When they arrived, we made salads together while drinking wine and catching up. It was sunny, so we decided to eat outside instead. We trooped into the garden and pulled tables together and put cutlery into a straw basket. Husband lit the BBQ and a slow cooked chicken tagine became eastern spiced chicken bits BBQ’d over a rosemary fire. Chunks of bread were served up with oil and balsamic dips. People helped themselves to beers from the fridge, and wine. We lit another small fire and roasted plantain and butternut and sweet potato, for a hot salad served with creme fraiche and a handful of herbs plucked from the garden. Eventually we ate pudding, supplemented by toasted bananas stuffed with chocolate chips and marshmallow bits. It struck me that this kind of lazy Sunday – food shared and prepared with family and friends – was actually the ethos of my business and hence the business became Lazy Sunday. It says everything to me about generous, spontaneous, seize the moment eating, sprinkled with local ingredients and a great big handful of relaxed, informal entertaining.
2/Describe your workspace?
My kitchen space is a moving space. We cook wherever we happen to be – anything from a field in the middle of nowhere to a tipi on a clifftop to a grand ceremonial castle with turrets and things. Prep is done from a fairly boring catering kitchen – but it satisfies the needs of them environmental peoples and ensures that we’re well organised for pulling everything together on the day.
3/ where did it all begin?
Sharing food with friends and family round a big kitchen table has always been one of the most important things in my life. It started when my children were small and continues to this day.
I like food that is wholesome and generous and beautiful to look at and nourishing and good for the soul. Whether I am catering for a wedding or a birthday; whether it’s food for two or food for a hundred – I cook the same way.
I suppose that I seriously learned to cook when I bought an old boatshed in South Queesnferry and converted it into a very popular wee restaurant that we called The Old Boathouse. It’s still very popular to this day (after several different owners) and whenever I go there to eat I remember us putting down, sanding and varnishing the railway sleeper floor and creating a pully system to open the giant wooden shutters that kept the waves from crashing in. I used to pick up langoustines from an old fisherman who used to sneakily meet me at Dysart Cemetry with a box load of them – I know, I shouldn’t be telling you this, but it was a very long time ago!! – and taught myself how to cook the basics, how to pull flavours together and how to rely on the beautiful flavours and textures of local produce.
Since then I’ve owned my own water’s edge hotel on Loch Fyne – where we specialised in seafood, shellfish and game. This time I employed a chef and learned so much from him over the years about cooking for large numbers of people. He says that he learned from me about making food simpler. Less hotelly. Less fussed over. More authentic. I like that. I launched the Seafood Trail with The Three Chimneys and Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and I wrote my book, ‘From CrabShack to Oyster Bar.’ I taught myself to be a good food photographer because I think that people eat with their eyes.
We sold the hotel. I set myself up as a wedding caterer for some stunning venues on the beautiful Argyll Coast. Then my mum became ill with dementia and we decided to move back to the East Coast to support both her and my dad. And here I am now. With a business that I love. Catering for venues that I adore and for people who make my heart sing.
4/ favourite work to date?
I think my favourite wedding every was Hannah and Dan’s. Held at Dairsie Castle, they had a completely bonkers marquee (which I loved) and a completely inside out theme. The ‘borrowed’ all the vintage furniture from a charity shop in Cupar; they had living rooms outside and a complete mismatch of tables and chairs and old china and a wardrobe outside the marquee for you to hang your jackets – which I loved because it felt like you could walk through it. Family and friends helped out for days and days to make this a very special wedding. The food was totally Lazy Sunday – huge salads, slow cooked tagines, loads of puddings. Fresh tastes and flavours. A wonderful beautiful mother of the bride. And the totally relaxed vibe that comes from being absolutely true to yourself. I always think that I would like guests to leave a wedding saying to a bride and groom that the food was so totally them. I have to sat that the whole day was totally them. Which is why I think I loved it so much.
5/ who/what inspires you?
Yikes. Where to start. Art inspires me. Bold pieces by artists like Cristobal Gabarron. I love cooks and food writers like Nigel Slater and Ottolenghi and Diana Hendry and Valentine Warner.The whole food experience in France and Italy – the long relaxed preparations, the browsing in markets (where health and safety and environmental health and other such officialdoms rule with a light hand and a heap of common sense), the slow eating and chatting and supping of wine. That totally inspires me. Pinterest inspires me (but also makes me slightly covetous sometimes!). But mainly my kids inspire me. Each of them is following their dreams, doing what they love and staying totally true to themselves.
6/ describe a typical day:
There’s no such thing. Mid week I spend a lot of time working on my business – I want it to be a pretty business. One that not only has substance and heart but that is also nice to look at. I’ve spent a lot of time recently on my business cards and on my website – I want people to ‘get’ us. I also spend a lot of time trying out new ideas in my kitchen – I can get lost in there for hours. And I like coming up with new concepts – The Lazy Sunday Picnic. The groom’s reception. Mix your own macaroni bar. The day of a wedding is long. Typically my day starts at 6am – gathering everything together and getting it from A-B. I’m the wedding supplier that is typically ‘on site’ the longest and so I get to see everything coming together. I love that. My fabulous chef Tomasz arrives with me at the venue and we get ourselves organised, talk through (again) our cooking schedule, I talk through everything with my team and then it’s quite a bit of craziness until the food is served. I then relax a bit and maybe even enjoy a wee glass of something! Usually home by 11 and never asleep until about 2am as my brain is still buzzing.
7/ where’s your favourite place to go?
In Glasgow, my favourite place to go is my daughter’s tearoom – The Hidden Lane Tearoom. I am so ridiculously proud of what she has achieved through sheer dogged hard work and determination. I sit there with my chest puffed and drink tea and eat cake and watch all her lovely customers enjoying their visit. Other favourite places include: The Gardener’s Cottage in Edinburgh (OMG. Just OMG!); Leo’s Beanery in Edinburgh – owned by one of my first ever wedding couples; Peter’s Yard; 1 Sallyport (restaurant with rooms) in Berwick.
8/ best piece of advice you’ve ever been given:
It’s actually a quote by Cesar Chavez: If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him – the people who give you their food give you their heart.
And there you have it – you can tell this lady is passionate about her food!! And we can tell you – it’s exactly what you want to be eating on your wedding day… deeeelicious.
To find out more about Lazy Sunday, see some more of her beautifully styled food photography and get those contact details – head on over to the Catering section of our Directory.
Team GWC x