GIRL power is alive and well in the kitchen at New Lanark Mill Hotel.
Unusually for a male-dominated industry, a practically all-woman kitchen team is now in place under new Head Chef Linsey Scott.
And award-winning Linsey (31), born in Polbeth and now living in Breich, promises: “I’m taking the menu here back to basics – delicious unpretentious dishes, generous portions, beautifully presented.”
Her numerous awards show just what a great appointment she is for New Lanark – Hit Scotland Scholarship in 2009; Hospitality Salon Culinaire; winning Gold at La Parade Des Chefs in 2009; Rising Star Chef of the Year in 2011; and at this year’s Scottish Hotel Awards, Linsey was voted Hotel Executive Chef Médaille d’Or, the top accolade.
The four other ladies cooking up a storm at New Lanark Mill, voted the best hotel in Lanarkshire by readers of Tripadvisor, are chefs Barbara Connolly, Robynne Greenshields, Sarah Henderson and Amy North.
They’re joined by Commis Chef Jamie Donaldson and Junior Sous Chef Leon McIntyre who provide some male balance in the female-dominated kitchen!
“They make a great team and are all wonderful to work with,” said Linsey. “They’re full of enthusiasm, passion and drive – exactly what you need in a top chef.”
Linsey always loved cooking and her interest first started with her favourite class, Home Economics, at West Calder High School plus her parents’ encouragement and support.
After taking an HNC at West Lothian College, she held a variety of restaurant posts including seven years at Cannon’s in West Calder and spells at Livingstone’s in Linlithgow, Dalhousie Castle and Compass World Class Dining at RBS Gogarburn.
Her high-flying career really took off when she joined the Aurora Hotel Collection and worked her way up in three years from Senior Sous Chef to Food Development Manager.
“It was a fantastic part of my career but it was time for a new challenge. I wanted to get a better work-life balance, the opportunity at New Lanark came along and I grabbed it with both hands.”
Now she has the chance to make her mark with her team.
“It’s my job to lead and advise them. I always tell them to think first of all about seasonality, local produce, flavours, textures and how it’s going to look on the plate. And most important of all – when you’ve cooked it, taste it. It’s amazing how many chefs don’t do that; you have to put yourself in the shoes of the person eating it.”
The new dinner menu at New Lanark Mill reflects her own personal taste for great food cooked to perfection.
“We’re not looking for Michelin stars here, we just want to provide great satisfying dishes at good prices that people will love to eat.”
Starters include Cullen Skink, Shetland king scallops and Stornoway black pudding with a cider and apple glaze and aromatic duck fritters. Mains range from beer battered haddock fillet with hand-cut chips to roast chicken breast with colcannon croquette and dry aged steaks from the chargrill while desserts include white chocolate cheesecake, apple and almond caramel sponge, marmalade ice cream and tiramisu. To see the menu click here.
And Linsey’s rung the changes in the bar menu too with sandwiches, salads, steak and haggis pie, home-made burgers, working lunches and afternoon teas proving especially popular. The bar menu is available here.
She added: “To keep us on our toes, any special requests or healthy diets are all welcome at New Lanark. Nothing is too much hassle – just ask and we’re always happy to accommodate you.”
Sarah Henderson (18), from Carnwath, is a demi chef de partie which means she’s learning her trade as a chef and currently specialising in the kitchen’s sauce section. With help from the senior chefs, she’s also being supported to gain her SVQ Level 3. The former Biggar High pupil came to the hotel two years ago. “It’s great to be part of a fun, female team. I love baking and one day hope to be a pastry chef,” she said.
Robynne and Amy are also about to make a start on their SVQ qualifications while also gaining valuable experience in the real kitchen.
And Jamie said: “Although the girls outnumber us in the kitchen, it’s a great place to work and we all get on great. I’m learning a lot from the ladies, especially about finesse, presentation and attention to detail. That’s what makes the difference between a good and a great dish.”
General Manager John Stirrat believes his team led by Linsey is set to be a winner.
“People have a more down-to-earth culinary mindset nowadays and I’m delighted that Linsey is overseeing a shift away from stuffier dining towards unfussy real food at affordable prices. With her award-winning background, I know she and her team will create a fantastic new dining experience at New Lanark.”
Girl Power captures the kitchen – Linsey (second right) with, left to right: Sarah, Amy, Barbara and Robynne.