Media Release: Barcaldine Restaurant in Argyll nets Michelin protege

BARCALDINE House Hotel, near Oban, Argyll, has taken on a new head chef: Oskars Kalnins, with a background in Michelin-starred restaurants.

Says a spokesperson: “Barcaldine has a strong emphasis on its restaurant and a key attraction is fine dining for non-residents in a relaxed and friendly environment. Recently awarded two AA Rosettes, the Barcaldine House restaurant is already recognised for its passion for locally-sourced ingredients.

“Kalnins’ background in Michelin starred restaurants means he is well placed to maintain that tradition. Kalnins has worked in the two-starred Restaurant Andrew Fairlie in Auchterarder and the one-star Ballachulish House and Golf Club.

“He is experienced at serving an international and discerning clientele including business and world leaders plus royalty.”

Barcaldine House came under the management of the Blue Grange Group in 2009.

Blue Grange founder, Heather Buchanan, says: “We see great potential in Oskars who shares our passion for high quality ingredients in a relaxed but elegant setting.

“Oskars has twice reached the semi-finals of the Gordon Ramsay Scholar competition. He will oversee all the menus, from our afternoon teas to our light lunches and special evening meals

“We are determined to nurture talented chefs and have already recruited and developed Craig Ferguson, who won Scotland’s Rising Star Chef award earlier this year.

“He was responsible for gaining two rosettes at the Barcaldine House restaurant. Craig is leaving to go south of the border. We are looking forward to repeating our success – and more – with Oskars.”

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) announced in July 2010 that they are backing Barcaldine House hotel’s bid to gain a coveted five-star rating.

The enterprise body has been working on the hotel’s growth plan with the management team and has agreed to a £120,000 grant towards the £600,000 build and marketing development costs.

Barcaldine House, once the seat of the Clan Campbell, was built in 1709.

The spokesperson continued: “The house, which sits near the banks of Loch Creran, near Oban had fallen into disrepair before Buchanan spotted its potential.

“Having already won a raft of awards this year this year at the Scottish Hotel Awards, the Blue Grange team will now take the refurbishment to the next level, then market it internationally as a luxury country house with an informal, relaxed atmosphere. In addition to the hotel there are also six self catering holiday cottages located in the courtyard and gardens.”

Buchanan adds: “We have worked very hard to breathe new life into Barcaldine and re-create one of Scotland’s true hidden gems.

“We have already done significant work to upgrade the facilities and we are excited about the prospect of offering five star treatment to our guests.

“We strongly believe that five star hotels do not need to be stuffy.

“Our philosophy is to provide excellent food, wine and service in a laid back environment.

“Relaxed excellence is a difficult balance to strike, but one we believe represents true luxury in our hectic, modern lives. We are looking forward to making the experience at Barcaldine even more magical and to welcoming new guests at our beautiful hotel.”

With 11 bedrooms, the hotel sleeps up to 40, including the cottages. It is available for exclusive use packages, weddings, plus gourmet food and wine weekends and experiences such as wild food foraging in the surrounding forests.

ENDS (Background Information follows)

Blue Grange Property Group: Press Background

Borders-based Blue Grange property management and development group was founded in 2003 by Heather Buchanan.

Buchanan is a Californian international hospitality specialist with a talent for management systems.

Barcaldine House Hotel was acquired in 2009.

The Buchanan managerial touch exceeded the entire previous year’s turnover in just nine weeks.

Barcaldine is already winner of three major awards this year at the Scottish Hotel Awards in April 2010:

Rising Star Chef of the Year 2010 Craig Ferguson,

Scottish Family Hotel of the Year 2010 (child friendly), plus

Turnaround Achievement Award (Silver) 2010.

Blue Grange currently manages a portfolio of properties estimated at £12 million, including:

Barcaldine House Hotel, built in 1709 as a Campbell stronghold. Barcaldine is one of Argyll’s most important period country houses.

Fortingall Hotel, the newest addition to the portfolio: a historic 4-star country house hotel in Highland Perthshire

Eildon House, Melrose-based prestigious serviced business offices.

Three holiday let properties near Melrose, plus two listed city centre flats In Edinburgh.

Oskars Kalnins Experience

2010, Pierhouse Hotel and Seafood Restaurant, Port Appin, Scotland

2009 – 2010, P&O Cruises

2008 – 2009, Café 115, Fort William, Scotland

2006 – 2008, Ballachulish House and Golf Club, one Michelin star restaurant in Argyll, Scotland

2004 – 2006, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, twi Michelin star restaurant, Auchterarder, Scotland

2003 – 2004, The Strathearn Restaurant, Auchterarder, Scotland.

Represented Gleneagles and achieved semi-finalist recognition at Annual Awards of Excellence

2001 – 2003, Piperdam Restaurant, Dundee, Scotland


2006: Gordon Ramsay Scholar Semi Finalist, Birmingham, UK

2004: Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Awards of Excellence Edinburgh, Participant, Scotland

2003: Savoy Educational Trust Young Chef

2003 – Regional Finalist, Edinburgh, Scotland

2000 First Place Diploma in National Young Chefs competition, Riga Chefs and Hotel School, Latvia.

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Contact: Penny Haywood
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