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Words and pictures by Colin Smeeton
Youngsters from Arran Youth Foundations (AYF) served up a treat at their annual restaurant night which took place in the plush surroundings of Auchrannie’s Eighteen69 restaurant last week.
This year, for for the first time in a bid to spread the good work of the group, they opened the night up to businesses, partner organisations, supporters of AYF and those who have given them help, amd it proved great success by raising £1,037, which far exceeded their expectations.
Serving up a three course meal to thank patrons for their support throughout the year, the food was prepared almost entirely by the youngsters themselves and who also ran the entire operation by cooking, serving and even doing the washing-up afterwards.
Making it all possible and providing their time free of charge, restaurant manager Garrie Ross and guest services manager Sheila Bannatyne, guided the children through the process and ensured that all of the guests were well taken care of.
In the kitchen, chefs Colin Miller and James Knowles – who had both come in on their days off – ensured that a high quality of food and presentation was being served to the guests.
Following the dinner guests received updates on some of the invaluable work that AYF have undertaken over the year and a raffle took place with prizes which had been donated by island businesses.
Youth work project manager Graeme Johnston said: ‘We had lovely feedback from all those present, who were clearly impressed to hear about the work of AYF but more importantly with the hard work of the young people on the night.
‘The young folk came in from a long day of school, some having just sat prelims, and prepared a three-course meal that was so good we could probably have got away with putting the clean plates back in the cupboard!
‘We would like to thank everyone who came on the night and gave so generously, both financially and in raffle donations. I would like to recognise the contribution of AYF’s youth worker Hollie Watkins, who organises so much of cooking club behind the scenes and put an awful lot of work in to making the event such a success. Huge thanks to all the team at the Auchrannie who made it possible – in particular to their chef, Colin Miller, who gives up so much of his time to make this happen, even visiting our cooking club throughout the year on his days off to teach the young people culinary skills.’
Youth group members work in tandem to plate up the main course. 01_B05AYF01
Chocolate orange cheesecake made by the children themselves is dished up. 01_B05AYF02
The entire team of youth workers, chefs, waiting and kitchen staff pictured before the event. 01_B05AYF03
Chef James Knowles puts the finishing touches on a starter prepared by a youth club member. 01_B05AYF04
Chef Colin Miller makes sure that the gravy is made to the right consistency. 01_B05AYF05
Guests enjoy a pre-dinner drink prior to the starters being served. 01_B05AYF06
Imparting their tips and tricks, restaurant manager Garrie Ross and guest services manager Sheila Bannatyne, with the waiting staff crew. 01_B05AYF07
Making their choices, guest select their preferred options from the menu. 01_B05AYF08
Restaurant manager Garrie Ross stands at the ready to provide assistance if required. 01_B05AYF09
May I take your order? A young waitress makes her recommendations. 01_B05AYF10
Acting-chefs feeling optimistic about the starters they have prepared. 01_B05AYF11
Serving up the soup under the watchful eye of chef Colin Miller. 01_B05AYF12
Guests enjoy their starters of soup and goat’s cheese served in bell peppers. 01_B05AYF13