We are back to work after 10 days closed and I feel rejuvenated. By the end of December Chefs are exhausted having worked Christmas day, New years eve and every day in between. It is so difficult to be creative and have new ideas when you are working in the kitchen all day and night. It was time for a break.
Its always interesting to hear what the boys have been up to with their time off. Usual activities include eating in other restaurants, sleeping-in, partying and growing beards. My beard got itchy and did not last long, the best effort came from Tom Dale.
More importantly though we come back to work rested and ready to push on for another year. It is great to be back in the kitchen and my mind has been in overdrive. We have a new snacks section and have changed almost every dish. The cocktails and juices we have been working on for several months are finally ready to go and it feels like we have upped a level from two weeks ago. There is a buzz about the place and a real anticipation for what is sure to be a big year for us all.
On the garden front, Ken has been busy this week planting Oyster Leaf seedlings. Oyster Leaf is an amazing plant that is native to the west coast of Scotland and Canada. It tastes remarkably like an actual Oyster. I have recently become allergic to Oysters so this is the closest we will get to them at the Black Swan. It is rare to find Oyster Leaf in the wild as storms in Scotland wiped out most of the population a few years back. After acquiring some root stock, Ken has begun building his own colony of the plants and this week he planted 70 seedlings in our propagation tunnel. I am very excited that this summer we will have an abundance of Oyster leaves, flowers and buds to use on our fish dishes.
It is a surreal experience watering seeds in the warm poly-tunnel as the snow falls outside. The cold weather has not slowed us down as we continue to prepare for the summer. I for one cannot wait for spring.