To say that 2015 was a big year for the team behind Russell Up (ie: me) would be an understatement to say the very least.
The year began the way all good ones do, with a great many beers and burgers from the good people down at Teuchtar’s Landing. From these beers came ideas and inspiration, which thankfully hung around far longer than the fuzzy heads which followed. To move the business forward I needed a kitchen to call my own and all of the kit to fill it. Of course this step would not be the cheapest, but it was either make the leap or stay standing still.
Working mostly from home in the three years since launching Russell Up, and with a series of pretty pokey domestic kitchens, I’ve had to improvise. What was once a hallway became the dry store, lined with shelves stocking everything from turmeric to tonka beans and back again. What was once a car garage became an equipment store: plates, cutlery, fryers, water baths, dehydrators, the list goes on. More often than not, preparing food at home was a bit of a nightmare, but the other option was to do it all on the job, arriving at the venue ahead of schedule and preparing everything in the onsite kitchen, which came with it’s own set of pros and cons.
When it comes to kitchens I’ve seen it all: from stunning expanses of marble worktop with every gadget under the sun to temperamental AGAs, a severe lack of wooden spoons (doesn’t everyone have 17?) and self-cleaning ovens stuck in a perpetual cycle of rinse & repeat. Sometimes we get a wonderful treat, more often than not it’s more of a challenge, but each kitchen I have the pleasure of cooking will always be new and different and hopefully never disastrous.
Launching my second venture, The Edinburgh Catering Company, in Spring last year was an incredible high. Our Kickstarter campaign raised 115% of it’s total – a staggering amount, especially considering how apprehensive we were about using this platform in the first place. The support I received from friends, family, fellow chefs along with a fair few complete strangers was overwhelming, and I cannot even begin to thank everyone enough. Our stunning kitchen, now almost a year old, allowed us to make our first dent in the wedding market, host the inaugural Unit 12 pop-up and also gave me a pretty good reason to finally get my hands on a vac-pack machine.
And so here we are. Already early four months through 2016 and with our first employee on the books. Claire has joined us from Innis & Gunn, where she was working as their Brand Ambassador, representing their delicious oak aged brews around the UK and Europe. For Russell Up and TECC, Claire will be taking care of much of the event organisation along with some marketing bits & pieces, including taking care of this somewhat neglected blog, freeing me up to get cooking and developing: dry-ice ice-cream anyone? A woman of many talents, Claire also moonlights for spirits brand Sipsmith, spreading her love for gin up and down the east coast, meaning this year we are delighted to be offering gin masterclasses and cocktail workshops alongside our foodie offering.
With eight weddings already booked in for this summer, several pop-ups in the pipeline, alongside planning our own wedding, it’s looking to be another action packed year. We’ll cheers to that!