What drew you to The Cottage Kitchen?
Well first and foremost, St Andrews has always been one of my favourite locations in the world. I’ve travelled a lot throughout my life, and lived in London for 15 years, but there’s nothing quite like St Andrews. The golf, the beaches, the scenery, the local charm, the friendly people, the fresh Scottish air...there’s nothing that compares to it! So, on deciding to move back to Scotland from London, there was only one location that stood out and my decision was made for me, and that’s when I discovered that The Cottage Kitchen was up on the market, and it all just went from there!
What were your key goals and intentions when taking over The Cottage Kitchen?
Our main goal was to take over the reins from the previous owners, who did a wonderful job building a loyal customer base and brand that aligned with my own values. We saw the potential of building on top of that foundation and taking the business to the next level –– being the best bistro cafe in St Andrews! I knew it had that potential, and there was even more potential to unearth additional services like the outside catering aspect of the business, private events such as graduations, university society evenings, birthdays and weddings.
What are the core values behind The Cottage Kitchen?
We’re big foodies here at The Cottage Kitchen, but that doesn’t mean we need to become stuffy or off-putting for anyone that wants a casual lunch with some outstanding food! We want our customers to feel at home, so we’ve created a warm home environment for all our customers, and we’re often described as having a very rustic and relaxed atmosphere. So, it’s these kinds of values we want to lace through every touch point our customers come into contact with.
We passionately believe that the food in Fife and Scotland is among the best in the world, and at The Cottage Kitchen we proudly source the best local suppliers- we believe this is what makes our food truly delicious! ‘Locally sourced, freshly crafted food’ is the tag-line of our business, and that’s what it all centres around.
How has your business developed since your time at The Cottage Kitchen?
The biggest changes have come from the kitchen –– in particular our new team of chefs who are creating our delicious seasonal menus. We are extremely lucky to have such a strong kitchen team!
Our head chef has worked at The Cottage Kitchen for many years and has a strong knowledge of our customer base. But to make sure we don’t rest on our laurels, we’ve recently welcomed a new chef; her Michelin Star experience has brought lots of fresh, new ideas to the business. This is the perfect dream team, who together produce menus that are truly excellent!
The front of house team are knocking it out the park too! They’re professional, friendly, and totally dedicated to the job, and they really add to the customer experience. They’re amazing with regulars and new customers alike.
What are your goals for the future?
Our main goal at the moment is to open our doors again and welcome back our customers to The Cottage Kitchen. We miss everyone very much. But in saying that we have a few ideas up our sleeve to take advantage of our courtyard. We’ll keep you posted on that one, so watch this space!
In the short term though we’re focussing on developing the outside catering aspect of our operation (with our new amazing kitchen team!). We have so many postponed weddings and private events from 2020, and we’re so excited to deliver on those events in 2021, when the time comes!
What do you think sets The Cottage Kitchen apart from other businesses?
I’m obviously biased, but I believe that The Cottage Kitchen is a very unique place. We are independently owned, so no big boss investors telling us what to do! And we have worked hard to create an environment that has something for everyone: locals, students and tourists. So, we’ve got an amazing mix of people that visit us every day, which we just love.
We have a strong team who are dedicated (and excited to get back to work!).
Everything is freshly prepared in-house every day, as there’s no shortcuts to producing delicious, fresh food. That takes hard work and dedication by all of us, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
And let’s not forget our outside space that is truly unique to St Andrews. Our courtyard is a perfect place to eat, drink and socialise, as well as being an ideal place to host private events.
Why did you choose to work with Ecoeats?
When I heard about Ecoeats and met with Philip and his team I was instantly impressed. There were other businesses offering a similar solution to Ecoeats, but the idea of working and supporting a local start up business with similar core values to The Cottage Kitchen really appealed to me. I’m delighted to see Ecoeats continue to grow and I’m proud that we were one of your first clients!
What do you believe are the benefits of being involved in sustainable activities and projects?
Sustainability is at the centre of everything we do at The Cottage Kitchen. We feel that every business has a responsibility to do all they can to make hospitality a sustainable industry for the future.
In 2019, we won the Plastic Free Award for pioneering the eradication of single use plastic movement in St Andrews. We are constantly looking for ways to make the business more sustainable and eco-friendly.
What do you think is unique to St Andrews as a marketplace?
St Andrews holds the perfect and unique blend of old and new; from the historic old town, its rich golf history, to the university and vibrant/modern youth culture. It truly has something for everyone!
How have your operations changed due to COVID-19 restrictions?
As with the entire hospitality industry, we have had to make changes to the day-to-day operations of the business. From implementing social distancing measures and losing around half the number of covers, to the use of face masks for staff and customers and ensuring proper and regular sanitisation of all equipment/furniture.
It has also brought two welcome changes to our day-to-day operations. The first being the introduction of our new ordering app, which allows for contactless service (menus, ordering and payment). This is something that we will continue to use and develop in the future.
The second, being our takeaway and delivery service, which is something we did not offer prior to the initial lockdown last March. The new partnership with Ecoeats has been a welcome and successful addition to the business.
What is your favourite dish from The Cottage Kitchen’s menu?
I’ve found this question the most difficult to answer, I would confidently recommend each dish! But if pushed, my absolute favourite dish from our brunch menu is our eggs benedict, with Stornoway black pudding on the side. The smoked applewood mac and cheese from our seasonal lunch menu is honestly the best I’ve ever tasted (and I’ve tasted a lot of mac and cheese!) and our most popular cake would definitely be our Vegan chocolate cake but I would also highly recommend trying our new chocolate orange tart – a recent new addition from our wonderfully talented pastry chef!
Order zero emissions delivery or contact-free collection from The Cottage Kitchen via the Ecoeats app.