Isabel Graham

Isabel Graham is a well-known hotelier and cook at the Orasay Inn in South Uist. Here she describes how she uses local produce when preparing meals for guests.

My name is Isabel Graham. I’m the – I’ve got Orasay – I’ve got a small hotel called Orasay Inn in South Uist. I also do the cooking, in Orasay Inn, most of it. I’ve got helpers as well.

From day to day we cook an awful lot with seafood and fish, and we have our own Highland cattle. And we use local lamb. So most of the stuff we use is local. Eh, the fish we get mostly from Eriskay or from South Uist, from fishing boats, and sometimes from Barra. The scallops and the – the scallops and the crabs we get from Kallin. And, plus, there’s a local fisherman just down the road from here. He does liver crab. He goes out the weekend and I get crab and lobster and stuff from him as well. And sometimes I go myself and get cockles on the ford. So we use cockles as well. So all the seafood we use is local seafood.

It’s so easy to get. Well, I find it easy to get, I mean, if, it’s hard work once you get it, but I like when I get a phonecall like tonight saying that they’ve got a box of mixed fish in Lochboisdale or in Eriskay, or in Kallin, and would I take it. And I get it first thing in the morning and, eh, you never know what you’re going to get – a lot of maybe, sort of, seven, eight, nine, ten different species of different fish in it. Once you sort of gut it and fillet it and get it ready – that’s where our work is – but once that’s done, to serve it out onto the table is just very simple. And it’s very quick to cook with, and it’s very easy to use.

It’s very popular because you find that people that come on holidays, that’s what they’re looking for. They want local produce, eh, local fish, local shellfish, anything that’s local, they love it.

I’ve been using the Hebridean Smokehouse stuff and I’m quite enjoying it. I use the hot and cold smoked salmon, and I use their hot – their smoked scallops, which is very, sort of, different flavour. It’s very interesting, so I do a platter of the three different ones. That’s very popular. It’s served with horseradish sauce. And I also use their sea trout, and the sea trout is just – it’s been so popular this year. It’s, and all I do is just – it comes filleted, ready for putting on the tray – and I just plain grill with butter, and that’s it. Don’t do anything else to it, and serve with fresh local vegetables and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

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