LIFE is sweet for dessert chef, Isobel McIntyre, who has worked at the Lairhillock Inn for an impressive 32 years.
Although Isobel has had no formal training, she is a natural in the kitchen and developed her passion for baking at a young age, learning many of her special recipes and skills from her mother, and has perfected the craft of making her trademark seasonal desserts.
During her time at the Lairhillock Inn, which is based at Netherley, the restaurant has been owned by a number of different families, and Isobel has remained loyal to the business, proving she is an irreplaceable member of the team.
As the restaurant is passionate about using only the finest Scottish produce and fresh seasonal ingredients, Isobel has been able to create a delicious dessert menu all year round, including fresh summer fruits meringues and her famous sticky toffee pudding – a recipe that remains a closely guarded secret.
Isobel said: “The sticky toffee pudding at the Lairhillock Inn is a favourite with the customers and I often get asked for the recipe, but as it is a secret family recipe passed on from my mother, I want to keep it that way for now.
“I have made it so many times that I no longer have to look up my recipe book – I could probably make it with my eyes closed.”
Being an experienced member of the kitchen team, Isobel isn’t afraid of a bit of hard work.
She said: “I enjoy the challenge of trying out new recipes and I’m glad that I have the freedom to add my own flair to the desserts.
“The team are very hard working and we take a lot of pride in what we do, so nothing is put out of the kitchen if we are not happy.”
Isobel doesn’t mind the early mornings and will often stay later to help out in the busy periods if required.
She said: “I prefer working when the restaurant is busy as there is a real buzz in the kitchen and we all pull together to get the job done.
“It’s also very rewarding to cater for large functions such as corporate parties or weddings and I love hearing the positive feedback from the guests.”
Isobel works four days a week from 9am-12pm in the kitchen and will sometimes help front of house, but she still has plenty time to enjoy her afternoons and weekends.
She said: “I’ve always enjoyed working at the Lairhillock Inn and living within one mile of the restaurant means I can walk to work when the weather is good – it is probably one of the reasons I’ve stayed at the restaurant for so long.”
When Isobel is not working, she enjoys entering baking competitions at summer shows including Banchory show, and Women’s Rural Institute events, where she has had several winning entries in the baking competitions over the years.
Isobel said: “Although I spend most of my working week baking, I still like to try out different recipes in my spare time and also bake for my family and special occasions.
“I loved watching the Great British Bake Off when it was on television, but I have yet to try out some of their challenging recipes.
“However, I must be careful to not get carried away as cakes and sweet treats are not very good for your waistline.”
The Lairhillock Inn, which is brimming with traditional Scottish style and character throughout, has its own gastropub, ideal for a casual dinner or Sunday lunch, complete with an open fire to warm up in the colder weather and a conservatory where guests can soak up the beautiful surroundings in the summer months.
The Inn also has two function spaces, The Crynoch and Ostlers, which are separate from the Inn and can be hired out for any occasion from family celebrations, corporate events and smaller weddings.
The Crynoch function room can cater for up to 60 people, and Ostlers can serve up to 20 people with an upper level space for dancing.
Issued by Frasermedia on behalf of The Lairhillock Inn
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