Posts for Staff
Friday 30th May 2014
Sarah-Louise Pedersen started her role as Crannog Restaurant Manager in March 2013; although her connections with the restaurant began back in 1998. While at school, Sarah-Louise worked as a waitress during the holidays. She returned to work at Crannog every summer and continued to do this even when she headed off to Art School in England.
“Quality fish to create uncomplicated dishes”
Sarah-Louise returned to her home town of Fort William after completing her Art course and took up the position of Assistant Manager at the Grog and Gruel, another local restaurant, in 2006. Here she added to her experience by learning management skills before progressing to her current role. On returning to Crannog Sarah-Louise says, “Crannog’s principles remain unchanged. The kitchen team, led by head chef, Stewart MacLachlan, still use the freshest Scottish seafood prepared simply to let the quality of the fish speak for itself. The Crannog ethos hasn’t altered at all over the years.” Sarah-Louise’s experience in art has also added to her role: owner Lorna Finlayson is an artist and art enthusiast, and the walls of Crannog Restaurant display the work of many local artists.
What’s the best part of your role as Restaurant Manager?
“We work very hard to create the best possible experience for our guests and hearing all the positive comments is easily the most enjoyable part of my job.”
Who would be your typical Crannog guest?
“In this tourist town the guests are varied; for example winter brings skiers, spring brings the Scottish Six Day Trials bikers, summer brings the downhill mountain bikers and those aiming to climb Ben Nevis or complete the West Highland Way. We are so lucky to be located in such a busy and interesting town!”
All in a day’s work
A typical working day for Sarah-Louise starts around 10.30am; she checks lunch and dinner bookings and deals with email reservations. Continual staff training is what Sarah-Louise sees as key to the high levels of service at Crannog, which set it apart from many other restaurants.
After ensuring the restaurant is ready for evening guests, Sarah-Louise grabs the chance for some fresh air and walks her dogs. She returns to the restaurant around 5.30pm, ready for evening service, which starts at 6pm.
After restaurant hours!
Sarah-Louise is a devoted godmother to her friend’s daughter Freya; on her days off Sarah-Louise often collects her from nursery and they enjoy a spot of baking and painting together.
Sarah-Louise also enjoys being on the other side of the table and dines out a lot with her fiancé, Joe – that’s when she’s not dining at Crannog of course!
We hope you have enjoyed learning more about our Restaurant Manager, Sarah-Louise; if you have any questions for her about the restaurant, either pop in to the restaurant on Fort William Town Pier or leave a comment below.
Thursday 7th Nov 2013
Having spent time ‘down under’ where he worked in both Melbourne and Sydney, he returned to his birthplace in Ireland for a time, working in various venues in and around Dublin.
We are glad to say that in 2008 Stewart returned to his beloved Fort William, where he now lives with his wife and young son.
“I love to source and forage for ingredients close to home. I have a few places I have discovered where I can guarantee to pick a feast! Chanterelle mushrooms, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries can all be found right here in Lochaber.”
Fortunately, Stewart also likes a spot of fishing! Stewart used to have a small boat which he loved fishing from, but these days he’s more likely to be seen catching a few mackerel from the basin at Corpach.
Demonstrating the Capabilities of a Professional Chef
In order to help school children discover an enjoyment for cooking and to demonstrate how easy cooking can be, Stewart was invited to take part in the “Seafood in Schools” event at Lochaber High School. Throughout his demonstration, his rapport with the children and his flair in the kitchen made a great combination; young talent from the school were definitely enticed into the world of cooking!
Stewart is passionate about minimising waste, so when asked which part of cooking he enjoys the most he was not the least bit hesitant:
“I love to use the entire fish; I don’t like anything to go to waste. One fish can be used to create so many different dishes. Take a monkfish; I can firstly use some of the innards and bones to create a stock; next I can use the flesh to make a main dish such as Pan-Fried Monkfish and Salmon; then part of the monkfish can be combined with other ingredients along with the flavoursome stock to make a bouillabaisse. The fish stock is used to flavour various sauces including accompaniments such as the creamed leeks served with the Pan-fried Monkfish and Salmon.”
Pan-Fried Monkfish & Salmon served with creamed leeks, spinach and clapshot
Crannog Bouillabaisse – poached seafood in a tomato-based broth with rouille
“My favourite desserts are always citrusy and fresh. For example, I really love the Lemon Sponge on the Autumn menu just now. It incorporates a traditional dish of Lemon Sponge and then we add a twist by serving it with lemon curd and basil ice cream.”
Lemon Sponge – steamed sponge with lemon curd and served with basil ice cream
Lemon Tart with orange mousse and candied fennel
Typical of a chef, Stewart thrives under the pressure of a busy day in the kitchen:
“During the day the most pressure is getting ready for service. Preparation between 8am and 5pm is the busiest time. Mornings start with filleting and stock making; preparing mousse and pastries. Soups are prepared next before moving on to sauces and the main dishes. This ensures all our food is as fresh as possible for both lunch and dinner service”.
Stewart’s favourite restaurant is The Kitchin in Leith, Edinburgh. This restaurant, led by the inspirational Tom Kitchin himself, saw it gaining a Michelin star within a year of opening.