Q&A: Aisla and Rupert Staniforth – Wee Lochan
How does your restaurant change in look and atmosphere in December? What effect are you hoping for?
The restaurant gets all twinkly. We have these fabby porcelain lights on each table The are lithographs and the light shines through the different layers of porcelain to give a real 3D effect. They are soooo pretty. We always end up selling them to customers because they love them so much. We are definitely going for a cosy twinkly effect.
What are the challenges in catering for larger groups and parties? What works? What doesn't work?
The challenges we see are to maintain the standards of a regular visit. Just because there is a large party doesn't mean they should be offered 'large party catering'. I find that infuriating. When I go out for a Christmas party to a restaurant and the meal is substandard I do feel cheated. Like it's ok to serve up any old rubbish and because it's a work night out people aren't going to care. WE do care and don't go down that route – even when it is busy busy busy. The other challenge is to stop the staff singing along to every Christmas song at the top of their voices. Some of them should stick to whistling really, or humming … humming would be ideal.
Anything new and exciting likely to be on your December menu this year?
Pigeon and pheasant. It's a bird year.
Any top tips for cooking for a big group at home?
Top tip for cooking at home – get your mum to do it. Rupert's mother's big family meals are not to be missed.
OK, a stalk of fresh brussels sprouts has just arrived in the kitchen. What do you do next?
Hide them. Otherwise two things will happen. Aisla will eat them all and no-one else will get a look in then she will spend the next day complaining about a wind problem.
What's your favourite day of the Christmas season? What are you likely to be eating?
Christmas day definitely. Wee Lochan is shut because some money is just not worth making. Everyone should be at home with their family and friends on Christmas. We will be eating whatever the family debate lands us with – we are not traditional. Last year we had peking duck starters followed by roast beef and yorkshire puddings (with brussel sprouts of course) followed by a selection of puddings scavenged from the Wee Lochan cold room. This year the debate will follow the same pattern and there will be an eclectic mix of random favourites on the menu along with a mixed group of friends and or relatives round the table.