The Experience Glasgow team caught up with legendary chef John Quigley from Red Onion to find out what he’s been doing during the lockdown and his thoughts for recovery. From cooking five nights a week for our NHS to live streaming on The Glasgow Pantry, he’s certainly been busy!
Here’s what he’s doing:
What does lockdown mean to you?
For some the lockdown is a pause, a time to reflect, work from home, get fit, get fat, stare at our phone, love our gardens, love our fam, fight with our fam, drink some wine, cook, wash dishes, cook, wash dishes, Zoom, clap and generally reassess our lives.
For a chef who actually likes to cook, working from home means cooking, cooking and more cooking – if it moves I’ve cooked it! Lucky we don’t have a cat…
I’ve even enjoyed cooking Sunday Brunch via live stream for The Glasgow Pantry – a fun way to support our industry. You should get involved and share a recipe if you can.
COOKINg for the NHS
But what cooking does do is focus my mind, give the day some order and fill the house with lovely smells while giving the family something wholesome to eat. So when a call came from Shane and Laura McKenzie of Cathedral House Hotel to ask if I would volunteer to cook 100 meal an evening for the Royal Infirmary I leapt at it!
My mother was a Sister Midwife so the NHS has always been close to my heart and this opportunity gave me a chance to honour her and the staff on the frontline. Every week, myself and fellow chefs Laura Bell and Paula take it in turn to cook 100 meals every midweek evening in the kitchens of Cathedral House hotel. Our meals are then transported over to The Royal Infirmary where the staff get to enjoy it on their breaks – a small token of our appreciation for everything they do. I have even managed to get my daughters out of their beds to help, and you should have seen my daughter Rosie’s face after peeling a 25k sack of onions!
Getting back in whites, and rattle some pots and pans has been some much-needed positivity, and at the end of the day, we cook to show we care in a time of crisis or to celebrate or to nourish. Glasgow Celtic Charitable Foundation has very kindly supported us thus far, but the pot is running low and as we are keen to maintain our effort so we may start crowdfunding in order to raise more funds. So watch this space, in the meantime, every meal is a win and we will cook on with hope in our hearts.
If you would like to support John or join him in his cooking efforts, you can contact him here
Life after Lockdown
Looking towards the future. Here we are entering our 6th week of lockdown and like everyone one in hospitality, we are no clearer on what the future holds. When will we reopen? What sort of social distancing restrictions will be in place? Will people even feel like spending money?
And as far as a city centre restaurant is concerned, until there is a vaccine there will be no tourism economy; from conferencing, large sporting events, catching a show or a concert for the immediate future, and then for a long time to follow.
What does that mean for Red Onion? Well, ultimately we will adapt and remodel to the best of our abilities in order to sustain a business and keep our employees in employment.
Thanks to Experience Glasgow and the Glasgow Business Action Group. Join in the conversation here: