Lindsay Guidi is the owner, caterer and tutor at the Home Cook School, South Ayrshire. We recently spoke to Lindsay to gain an insight into her work and the new cookery school that she has opened - The Richmond, a beautiful B-listed building nestled in the village of Kirkoswald.
Hi Lindsay, Tell us about yourself and your journey, to get to where you are today.
My background is within the creative industry; I went to art school and I was previously a college lecturer at a local further education college. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching and seeing the development of skills, however, I felt like I needed a change; I was keen to become self-employed. I’ve always been a foodie and loved cooking at home (hence the business name!) but never considered it as a full-time career until many friends and family would ask me to share my recipes and cooking tips all the time, therefore The Home Cook School was established in 2016.
Tell us about what you do and offer at The Home Cook School
I offer a variety of different services including tailor-made private lessons, for any size of group; catering; private chef; cookery classes and catered functions here at The Richmond, my new premises.
I was working from my home kitchen, as I was getting busier and busier, it felt smaller and smaller and so it was time to move into something bigger. It took 2 years to find suitable premises and it has taken some time and a lot of hard work to renovate The Richmond building.
The Home Cook School has grown massively over the years since launching and I now have a professional kitchen within The Richmond as well as 2 chefs who work on an ad-hoc basis. They bring a multitude of additional skills to the business as 1 is a chef lecturer and 1 is an Italian chef.
I noticed you are passionate about local produce, why do you feel this is important?
I am conscious of the importance of sustainability and reducing my carbon footprint. I’m passionate about supporting local farmers, producers and suppliers. I am a member of Ayrshire Food Network - a local organisation that encourages positive business development through the supply and usage of locally sourced food and drink. It’s great to get involved with like-minded individuals to help promote local food and to work together.
Describe a typical day involved for you running The Home Cook School
There is no typical day! If catering is the focus, a snapshot includes ingredients delivered by local grocers, making of the food, packing the car, setting tables and meeting clients. For teaching, I will prepare recipes, buy ingredients, prepare the kitchen, cooking and tastings. Again, no day is ever the same!
What are your favourite things about Ayrshire?
The scenery! I love the picturesque views. I love driving to and from work, where I can enjoy the rolling hills and rich grass. In Ayrshire, we’re also blessed with the coast and beaches, which again I love! We really do have the best of everything here.
I noticed that you have a GSA Biosphere Certification Mark, what does that involve?
A biosphere is an area of unique natural and cultural protected heritage; Galloway & Southern Ayrshire (GSA) was awarded Biosphere status in 2012. To gain GSA Biosphere certification, you need to show sustainable practices and demonstrate that you can promote them through your business.
For example, I try to use as much local produce as possible and demonstrate local produce in lessons from different producers including lamb from Dalduff, Ballochmyle Brie and locally grown vegetables. I teach where to source local ingredients and encourage people to respect and appreciate what’s on our doorstep. I recently carried out a 40-lesson block, called ‘Cook Ayrshire’ where I demonstrated local ingredients to both children and adults.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
I cherish the satisfaction and happiness that food can bring to people. Seeing that people have enjoyed the food and experience that we have given them is extra special.
As my background is in the creative industry, I love how I can still be creative within the food industry. From the food on the plate to the entertainment aesthetic part of it.
What inspired you to get into this line of work?
Cooking and entertaining have always been my passions. As a student, I always made meals for myself and my friends. Being on a student budget, it wasn’t quite lavish dinner parties so I would manage the budget my friends and I had. A skill that is extremely important and necessary for running a business and ordering food and equipment today!
Additionally, I worked in a Greek restaurant and for a local caterer when I was 21, I gained numerous key skills for this profession then. Looking back at the experiences I have had, it’s evident that this is where I’m meant to be.
What are your biggest challenges?
Every job faces its own challenges. I feel any chef would agree that the nature of the job is always challenging! A key part of the job is organisation and managing time - although challenging, it is extremely rewarding.
What is your favourite dish to cook?
Simply put, I like it all! I’d say I particularly enjoy cooking the Mediterranean cuisine.
I have done a lot of travelling from Greece to Thailand which has inspired me greatly. My husband is of Italian heritage, therefore Italian cookery also has heavily influenced me. Of course, I love to keep it local too. For example, when making a carbonara, I will make it ‘Ayrshire’ by using local bacon and eggs.
Describe Ayrshire Food & Drink in 3 words
(Simply too hard to describe in 3 words!)
Although Ayrshire’s produce is exceptional, I feel it is still quite unexplored and untapped. We’ve got the potential and resources for it to have a massive foodie culture. Ayrshire suffers slightly on its location, people tend to bypass the region to go to bigger places. With local organisations such as Ayrshire Food an’ a’ That, Ayrshire Food Network, GSA Biosphere and councils we can really work together to highlight the remarkable food and drink as well as tourism that Ayrshire has to offer.
It was an honour to talk to Linsday about her career. It is evident that she is hugely passionate about local food and drink and showcasing what Ayrshire has to offer.
Follow Lindsay at The Home Cook School on social media to see some of her appetising creations.
Visit her website to discover more and how to book classes and/or catering!
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