Head Chef of the Red House Hotel in Coupar Angus for the past four years, Nigel Liston, has whipped up some ruby-coloured cakes to celebrate the Hotel’s 40th Anniversary.

“Forty years of ownership by Alan Bannerman and his family is a very significant achievement,” said Nigel. “I’ve made these cupcakes for both staff and customers to enjoy, although it would be good to create a few special dishes on a red theme to add to the restaurant menu.”

Nigel explained that he was thinking about dark red sauces created from wine, port or berries, as well as red desserts, which again could contain the berries the area is world famous for.

“There’s also the option of creating a dish containing tomatoes, red peppers, chilli’s and other red ingredients,” he said. “There’s actually a lot of scope. It’s a great creative task and I’m loving the challenge.” 

“I’ve not decided for definite yet what I’m going to make, and will certainly have to confer with Alan and his family who will be my chief tasters, but it would be nice to do a couple of different dishes, both sweet and savoury, and add these to the menu as specials, perhaps to run throughout September,” said Nigel.

Originally from Ardanaiseig, on the banks of Loch Awe, Nigel grew up surrounded by world class seafood and would often watch the boats bring in their catch.

As his father was a hotelier there he soon found himself, aged just fourteen, in the kitchen helping out, and absorbing the atmosphere. Soon enough he decided that he wanted to be a chef. Since then he worked for a number of illustrious foodie establishments across the UK and Channel Islands, including Kinfauns Castle, where he formed part of the opening team, Kinloch House, as a pastry chef, and the Apex Hotel in Dundee, where he launched the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, winning two AA rosettes along the way, plus a number of other awards such as Chef of the Year, and Menu of the Year.

As Nigel explains though, to be a truly versatile chef is not just about fine dining.

“When the Commonwealth Games was held in Dundee, I ran the catering for the Apex Satellite Village for the athletes for six weeks,” said Nigel, “It was a huge event, with many different cultural ethnicities to cook for, and involved producing a thousand breakfasts every day.”

“Things are obviously on a different scale here at the Red House Hotel, but we do have a very wide ranging all day menu, which is locally sourced and seasonally based, to reflect changing dining habits,” he added.

Nigel finished by saying that all his team were looking forward to catering for weddings and events again in the future, “but for now, we want to look after every dining guest, and make their meal as special as it can be.”