Young people host successful restaurant night

On Monday 24th March 2014, the young members of Arran Youth Foundations hosted their own restaurant night with the help of the island's Auchrannie resort.

The evening was the culmination of a cooking project funded by the government's Cashback For Communities scheme. Since the start of the year, the young people have met every Monday night to learn kitchen skills, working together to cook dishes such as spaghetti bolognese, sweet & sour chicken and banana loaf.

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Richard Small of the Auchrannie, the island's biggest hotel & spa resort and one of AYF's best supporters, very kindly offered that the group could round off their project by hosting an evening of fine dining for their parents and invited guests in the hotel's 1869 restaurant.

After ten weeks of learning new skills, building confidence and developing in areas such as teamwork, the young people's cooking group culminated on Monday 24th with 21 parents and guests, including charity trustees and a reporter from the Arran Banner, enjoying dishes from a three-course menu prepared entirely by the young people themselves.

With the help of the Auchrannie's fantastic staff, young people were taught how a professional kitchen operates, learned from 1869's head chef Craig Beedie and were assisted in running the front of house to a restaurant standard by food & drinks manager Sheila Bannatyne and deputy manager Garrie Ross. Young people greeted guests, waited tables, took orders, made all the courses from scratch and even washed the dishes at the end of the night!

Parents were given tours of the kitchen in action and all were blown away both by the hard work demonstrated by their kids and by the quality of food served. All feedback on the night said that the cooking was to an excellent standard and many of the parents were very surprised to discover that their children could actually cook such quality food! Every plate was returned to the kitchen totally clean, which is always a good sign...

On the evening, the kids made a three-course menu that included:

Leek & potato soup
Prawn cocktail
Beef lasagne
Vegetable stir fry
Banoffee pie
Strawberry cheesecake

Overall, the cooking project was a fantastic success, with excellent feedback from the diners on the night, the staff at the Auchrannie and most importantly from all the young people who took part in the ten weeks of cooking sessions. On the night, we raised a fantastic £265.00 which will go towards the youth group's summer and October mainland trips.

Huge thanks go to all of the staff at the Auchrannie who helped make the evening happen.



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Alice grating carrots


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Lasagne sauces


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Sheila Bannatyne puts the front of house staff through their paces


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Ross and Duncan making their leek & potato soup


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Frying vegetables


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Alice & Lewis tend to their vegetable stir fry


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All go in the kitchen!


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Some of the parents marvel at the sight of their kids cooking...


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Prawn cocktail

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Leek & potato soup ready for service


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Tasty lasagne fresh out the oven


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Portioning out the stir fry


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Plated stir fry

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Banoffee pie


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Strawberry cheesecake



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Dessert... Yummy!


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The waiting staff ready to take dishes out


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Guests enjoying their evening as some of our waiters buzz around


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After their end-of-night applause

Well done again to all involved for a fantastic night!

Posted 27/03/2014