The owners of a local restaurant have been praised by theircommunity due to their hard work and interactive ideas throughout multiple lockdowns.
Laura Carey and Paul Smith took over ‘The Inn at Kippen’ in November of 2019. Despite an amazing start with the festive period, lockdown meant the closure of the pub.
In order to cope financially with the pub shutting, Laura and Paul found themselves needing ideas on how to keep the business afloat. They introduced their Friday night chip shoptakeaway, a unique selling point to Kippen which is a rural area and so doesn’t have the luxury of takeaway deliveries. They put themselves online by hosting their own ‘pub less’ quizzes and a cook school – where you would cook a meal alongside Chef Paul.
Laura Carey, 37, manager of the Inn said: “What with lockdown, we were determined to make sure people knew that we were still here. That was when we took on all our online content: our takeaways, deliveries, cook school, quizzes that we did throughout lockdown. I think that massively helped us become a part of the community.”
The interactivity of Carey and Smith’s business ventures have been well received by the locals of Kippen with Carey describing them as “receptive.”
Listening to people shielding talk about their difficulties birthed their online cook school, in which ingredients would be packaged and delivered to homes and come evening time participants would cook along to Smith’s instructions. Recent cook schools have included: a Sunday roast, steak night, Greek night, Spanish tapas and festive themed goodies. The Inn have had thousands of viewers tuning in to watch Chef Paul Smith cook and plate up restaurant quality meals from their own household, selling out most weeks.
“Many of the ideas came to us from just thinking ‘what did we do before?’ and ‘how can we make that work now?’” Carey said. The Inn hosted a steak night every Tuesday before closure and a Sunday roast every Sunday.
“People like Paul as he is such a personable chef. He likes coming out of the kitchen and asking people how their food is. People would often ask him for advice when cooking in their own homes, and that’s where the inspiration for the cook school came from.”
Following the success of the cook school, the duo has recently introduced cocktail making classes following Carey behind the bar where viewers can tune in from home using Facebook live. Classes so far have included vodka, gin, bourbon and the festive prosecco cocktails.
The Inn has also been applauded on its work and use of local produce.
“Paul’s work with food is spectacular. He fully believes in Scottish produce, buying local and just treating the ingredients with respect – and that seemed to be exactly what people wanted.” Carey said.
Local produce in the surrounding areas is abundant, the local Kippen butchers ‘Skinners’, Arnprior, Leckie Farm in Gargunnock, Knochraich Farm in Fintry, Briarlands. All the local businesses found a large drop in trade due to coronavirus and the decline of the events trade.
“Knockraich farm in Fintry has some of the best dairy in the world. They had the produce, it was there, and it was all going to waste. We used their produce directly in our tasting menus, in our cook school packages.
“Building up those relationships with local farmers, in the past we may have had to go through suppliers for our produce. Sothere have been some positives that have come out of the lockdown for us despite how stressful it has been.”