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New cook Sheila Lawson is preparing a batch of treats for Luing.
Although Sheila is a new face at the Atlantic Islands Centre in Cullipool, she will be a familiar face to many living in the area who will remember her from the Tigh-An-Truish on Seil and, until two years ago, owning The Oyster Bar at Ellenabeich.
With all that experience under her chef’s hat, she was working in Argyll College’s catering department when the Luing job opportunity popped up.
Now Sheila is in situ and, along with her kitchen crew, is bracing herself for a busy summer season.
Coming up on Sunday June 16 is a charity afternoon tea in aid of Oban Hospice, Sheila is hoping Seil Sound singers will be dropping in to give a performance. The event starts at 1pm and is by donation, so booking is essential.
‘I’m hoping this will become an annual event. We’re a charity giving to another charity – it’s good to give,’ said Sheila, who is making the most of produce from the island and the sea around it.
‘We get bread daily from our bakery and we get scallops and prawns from Luing fishermen. We’ve got so many talented producers. Home-baking is also a big part of the centre.’
Saturday restaurant nights are a regular feature on the centre’s menu and other tasty events to whet the appetite include an Oktoberfest and a spit-roast and fireworks night in November.
‘It’s exciting for me to be here and everyone has been so welcoming. Working surrounded by the views from the centre and being right next to the sea is such an inspiration.’
With that in mind, there is no surprise that Sheila’s signature dish is seafood chowder. ‘I can never make enough of it,’ she said.
Cultural events lined up during the year will also see monks from Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Tibet visit the centre to share their colourful dance and sacred music.
To get in touch with the Atlantic Islands Centre, call 01852 314096.