Natalie Maitland and Jordan Millar with general manager Nikos Matsikas
A Dundee restaurant & bar, due to open its doors to the paying public later this month, has spoken of its plans to enable its young team of employees to shine in the coming months.
With the last year having seen two agonising lockdowns inflicted on the hospitality industry, and latest UK figures stating that 660,000 job in the industry have now been lost – with many more predicted – Brasserie Ecosse, just behind The Caird Hall at Shore Terrace, has fully retained all its staff.
The restaurant, known for its famous egg chairs, its champagne tasting area, metal effect curtains, and eye catching wall of live moss & succulents, has been running an in-house training academy for young hospitality workers, since 2019.
Incorporating industry recognised training for both front of house, and young chefs, the academy has taken a number of young Dundonians, such as Natalie Maitland and Jordan Millar, and progressed them through the business. Having started as a part time junior waitress, who was often affected by a severe lack of self belief, Natalie is now Brasserie Ecosse’s head waitress.
Along with mastering professional front of house skills, Natalie has also had extensive training in many aspects of running a hospitality business. These include performing a dessossage & gueridon service, learning about customer service & recovery skills, covering K.P.I.’s & sales targets, HACCP & COSHH training, and Fire Safety & bomb threat training.
With the restaurant currently seeking to fill some new roles in both the kitchen and front of house, general manager Nikos Matsikas, who set up the training academy with the support of his head chef, Scott Cameron, and Brasserie Ecosse owner, Dr Rami Sarraf, believes the restaurant will be a trailblazer for training and mentoring.
“Natalie will pass on her experience to the new staff, providing them with a buddy system as they bed into the role,” he said.
Said Natalie: “I’m really looking forward to the restaurant re-opening. It will be great to get some more local young people working here in this amazing space.
“Doing well in this industry is all about someone taking the time with you, until you feel much more confident about everything you are doing, from recommending a wine, to describing the ingredients in a complex dish.
‘It’s been a long layoff, but we have all kept in touch with one another to keep spirits up’
“Knowledge is power. Nikos is a patient teacher whose understanding of the industry is unsurpassed. He has given me his passion for excellence, and I get a huge buzz from seeing diners enjoy their meal together with the whole experience, as it’s a touch of theatre here at Brasserie Ecosse for sure.
“That’s probably what I have missed most in lockdown. It’s been a long layoff, but we have all kept in touch with one another to keep spirits up, and Nikos has still been passing on tips and training guidance the whole time.”
Currently a commis chef, Jordan Millar will once again be running his own section within the Brasserie kitchen, working on Brasserie Ecosse’ delicious selection of starters & desserts.
With the mantra “laid back luxury”, Brasserie Ecosse’ menu uses a mix of classic and modern cooking techniques, predominately French, but with some influences from parts of Asia.
Jordan commented: “Like Natalie I’ve missed the buzz of the whole place. It’s been hard to be away from the job you love, but now is my time to shine with Scott providing fantastic advice and mentoring.
“We’re both been discussing the re-opening menu, as it will feature some favourites, together with some new dishes we had developed before lockdown. There’s a whole host of seasonal ingredients to play with too.”
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