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In line with the past week’s weather, there is a culinary storm brewing at Manor House Hotel, and it’s new head chef Mandy Todd who is cooking it up.
With her great gastronomic knowledge and experience, garnered in the main from travelling, Mandy has managed to strike a balance between nouvelle cuisine and having more than a morsel on your plate to produce an appetite-slaking fine dining experience.
‘Because I have had lots of different influences, my cooking style is fairly eclectic. I like to use mainly Scottish local ingredients but the flavours come from my travels and things I have picked up along the way,’ she told us.
‘Personally, I like food that is a wee bit more interesting than you can find on an average menu but I also like to feel I have had something to eat and hopefully that’s what I am offering here at the Manor House.
‘I like seeing what’s out there and then working out how I can use it in the kitchen. The only way for people to find out the results is to come and try it.’
Originally from Ayr, Mandy first took an interest in cooking from a young age when she helped her gran and her mum out in the kitchen.
Her professional journey began when she was just 18 at the Edinburgh New Town cookery school but it wasn’t until Mandy was 21, and travelled to Australia that she developed a real taste for a career in the kitchen.
‘Sadly, my gran died but she left me some money so I used it to do the cookery course in Edinburgh,’ she explained.
‘I worked in a lot of places in Australia and when I came back, 10 years later, I worked for a Californian chef, Annette Spragge, back in Edinburgh and I learned a lot from her.’
Before her move to Oban in June last year, when she became assistant chef to Gerard McClusky, Mandy worked as sous-chef at the award-winning Three Chimneys on Skye, where she met up with Darryl MacIntosh, who has now joined her as assistant chef at the Manor House.
‘It’s great having Darryl here,’ she added. ‘We know how each other works and have a great working relationship in the kitchen.’
Built in 1780, the Manor House was originally the principal residence of the Duke of Argyll’s Oban estate. It was later used as a Dower House for his family.
Of late Georgian architecture, great consideration has been given to preserve the elegance, charm and atmosphere of its past in both its appearance and its cuisine.
Mandy and her ace kitchen team are now keen to maintain the two rosettes the establishment already boasts.