New head chef is catch of the day at Port Appin hotel

One of Scotland’s top chefs has been added to the new menu at The Pierhouse Hotel & Seafood Restaurant at Port Appin in Argyll as part of its mission to become the country’s ultimate seafood destination.

Michael Leathley, 37, honed his career over 14 years working in London, Aberdeen and Glasgow, and previously held the position of Sous Chef at A’Challtainn Fish Restaurant in Glasgow.

Originally from North Shields, Michael has lived and worked in Scotland for five years and is renowned for his authentic style of cooking which ‘brings the outside in’, focusing on dishes inextricably linked with the land and sea, including pepper dulce foraged on the Isle of Lismore, oysters harvested from Loch Creran, and langoustines delivered straight from the fishing boat at Loch Linnhe to The Pierhouse kitchen.

Over the years, Michael has found inspiration in his family’s fishing heritage, taking his culinary lead from his grandfather, who was a day boat fisherman on the River Tyne. Michael whetted his appetite for the fishing industry from an early age, eel fishing with his grandfather in Northumberland.

Michael is now ready to steer The Pierhouse in an exciting new direction and is looking forward to heading up the kitchen team. He’s also making plans to get out and about around Argyll with the restaurant’s network of local suppliers, including The Caledonian Oyster Company at Loch Creran, Inverawe Smokehouse in Taynuilt, and local prawn and langoustine fishermen.

Michael Leathley, Head Chef at The Pierhouse Hotel & Seafood Restaurant, said:

“Cooking at The Pierhouse is a real celebration of the natural environment we’re lucky to have around us. From the lobster creels at the end of our very own pier, to the finest wild hill venison from Lochaber, our dishes respect the abundance of local produce and the people who dedicate their lives to working on the land and sea to bring us the finest produce.

“I enjoy letting the food speak for itself using classic, simple techniques. The real luxury in cooking these days is making use of what's here, right now. It's a joy to use produce that’s in season, available locally, with known quality and provenance, sourced wherever possible from within 50 miles of the hotel.”

Fiona McLean, General Manager at The Pierhouse Hotel & Seafood Restaurant, said:

“I am delighted and excited to be welcoming Michael to The Pierhouse family. I have worked with Michael in a previous role and I know that he will bring with him the skill, knowledge, expertise and commitment to build upon the growing reputation that we have here at The Pierhouse.”

Gordon Campbell Gray, Founder and Owner of The Wee Hotel Company, said:

“We are all very excited to have Michael join us in The Wee Hotel Company, heading up the kitchen team at The Pierhouse.

“Michael shares our passion for all that is exciting and local, and we are thrilled that he is part of the company as we move forward with our philosophy of sustainability and fun, and of course simply the finest locally sourced food and happy guests.”

Tucked away on the shores of Loch Linnhe, The Pierhouse offers breathtaking views to the islands of Lismore and Mull. This small hotel and renowned Scottish seafood restaurant is one of Argyll’s most idyllic and romantic destinations. Menus include the freshest langoustines and mussels harvested from Loch Linnhe and Loch Etive, as well as fine handpicked oysters from the oyster beds of Loch Creran.

The Pierhouse Hotel’s ‘Wee Winter Break’ includes an overnight stay, dinner, full Scottish breakfast and guidance from the team on how to spot local wildlife, in and around Port Appin and on the rugged Isle of Lismore. Prices start from £125 per couple, sharing a double room on a bed and breakfast basis. The ‘Wee Winter Break’ offer is available until 31 March 2020.

For more information on ‘Wee Winter Breaks’ at The Pierhouse Hotel or to make a reservation in the restaurant for non-residents call 01631 730302, email reservations@pierhousehotel.co.uk or visit www.pierhousehotel.co.uk.

About The Wee Hotel Company

The Wee Hotel Company was set up by Scots born international hotelier, Gordon Campbell Gray, earlier this year and includes The Three Chimneys at Colbost on Skye and The Pierhouse Hotel and Seafood Restaurant at Port Appin.

These unique coastal venues place an emphasis on authenticity, the magic of Scottish food and ingredients, hospitality and a warm welcome. The Wee Hotel Company has embraced its growing reputation for offering Scotland’s cosiest guest retreats by launching a series of ‘Wee Winter Breaks’ in in Skye and Argyll.

For more information about The Wee Hotel Company, visit: www.theweehotelcompany.com

About The Pierhouse

The Pierhouse Hotel is stoking up its real log fires, preparing its heart-warming winter menus and plumping up its pillows for travellers in search of a seasonally snug, wee winter getaway.

Argyll’s dark winter skies offer some of Scotland’s finest star-gazing opportunities, as well as the chance for some lucky visitors to witness the Northern Lights. Guests can also catch of glimpse of local wildlife during frosty morning walks, including sea otters, seals, hares, oyster catchers, guillemots and sea eagles. The Pierhouse team and local experts are on hand to offer top tips and guided walks to help guests make the most of the winter wonderland in Argyll as part of a ‘Wee Winter Break’.

After an exhilarating winter walk, guests can relax in the Finnish sauna at The Pierhouse or enjoy a choice of relaxation, therapeutic, aromatherapy or sports massage treatments in the comfort of their own room.

The Pierhouse Hotel’s ‘Wee Winter Break’ includes an overnight stay, dinner, full Scottish breakfast and guidance from the team on how to spot local wildlife, in and around Port Appin and on the rugged Isle of Lismore. Prices start from £125 per couple, sharing a double room on a bed and breakfast basis. The ‘Wee Winter Break’ offer is available until 31 March 2020.

For more information on ‘Wee Winter Breaks’ at The Pierhouse Hotel or to make a booking, call 01631 730302, email reservations@pierhousehotel.co.uk or visit www.pierhousehotel.co.uk.

About Gordon Campbell Gray

Born in Scotland, Gordon is a renowned hotelier and the founder of Campbell Gray Hotels. He has been personally involved in every aspect of the creation, design and philosophy of each hotel.

At this stage, he has decided to hold a more ambassadorial role to allow him more time at home in Scotland to live and work, supporting the development of The Wee Hotel Company.

As the word ‘luxury’ becomes increasingly overused and so often synonymous with excess, the philosophy of The Wee Hotel Company is based very much around a greater sense of integrity and looking after guests seeking a genuine hospitality experience. Alongside this, Gordon is passionate about the environment, encouraging other hoteliers to do more to reduce waste and take better care of the planet.

During his twenties, Gordon spent several years running Save The Children projects in Bangladesh, Morocco and Nicaragua. He is Vice President of Save The Children and an ardent fundraiser for this and many other charities.

Gordon was named Hotelier of the Year by The Caterer in 2002. He was given the Leading Legend award by Leading Hotels of the World” at their annual convention in Tokyo, and also received the Outstanding Contribution to the Hotel Industry award at the Hotel Cateys in London.