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Stir it up magazine November December 2015

CUSTOMER PROFILE A Christmas Carol >> A chef at a luxury Scottish entertainment venue based in a former church has been singing the praises of his team. Jeff Crawford, executive chef at Oran Mor in Glasgow (pictured above) is hugely complimentary about his staff’s work ethic, particularly over the busy festive period. “My team work really hard and I never ask them to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself,” he says. “I’m always there with them and, if you’re hands-on, you get respect. They all absolutely love working with food, which makes a huge difference too!” Jeff oversees all food matters relating to Oran Mor’s bar, brasserie, private dining room and function room, which are all packed to the rafters over Christmas and New Year. Last year an astonishing 2,500 revellers visited the venue for Hogmanay alone! The name Oran Mor means “big song” or “great melody of life” and Jeff has been there since it first opened its doors back in 2004. The brasserie has 70 covers, private dining room 30-40 covers and the banqueting hall holds 260 diners. There’s also a nightclub and theatre/ entertainment venue. Whilst the bar offers traditional favourites such as haggis with neeps and tatties, the brasserie menu is à la carte using the finest Scottish produce. Jeff’s current bestseller is pan-roasted Perthshire venison served with baby sauteed vegetables and wild garlic mash. “I make my own garlic essence which makes the potatoes green,” he explains. “I’m very experimental and I like to mess around with food. “Haggis is on the bar menu because we get a lot of tourists who ask for it but I don’t use it all year round and definitely not at Christmas – our menus tend to be more upmarket then. “I also make sure that we always have an à la carte menu available throughout December for those customers who don’t want to choose from the festive menu. After all, not everyone wants turkey!” He describes the festive season as “full-on”. “The place is chockablock but you just get through it, in fact I thrive on it. I’ve got over 30 years’ experience so it’s second nature. It’s a really good buzz and I can’t remember the last time I had Christmas off. “My 13-year-old grandson lives with my wife and I so we all get up really early on Christmas Day to open our presents before I come to work. They both come down to Oran Mor for their Christmas dinner and I nip in and out to spend time with them when I can. “We stop serving at 8pm on Christmas Day at which point I’ll have a couple of pints with the team. We feed all of the staff after service, not just on Christmas Day but every day. It’s a really nice concept. We charge £1 per meal and it means that everyone, especially our students, get a proper hot meal. It creates a nice morale and means you get more out of your staff.” Country Range products feature heavily on Jeff’s menus. He continues: “At this time of year I use a lot of Country Range Cranberry Sauce. It gives great depth to my turkey gravy and the fruity flavour really lifts it. “‘I work really closely with the sales rep of my Country Range Group wholesaler. I give her my new menus and she comes back with a list of all the products I need, along with samples of ones I’m less familiar with.” The team is made up of 14 chefs and five kitchen porters and the business is open every day throughout December – with Hogmanay being the mother of all parties! “We host a big dinner dance and the party goes on until 3am or 4am!” he adds. “We close the kitchen on January 1 but the bar is open from 5pm so I go in and make a free buffet out of any food that is left over. It’s a great way of using up stock and the customers think it’s a nice touch.” NOV / DEC 2015 05


Stir it up magazine November December 2015
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