MEET Angela Loftus, the Glasgow restaurant owner and cook who is allergic to food.

“It’s not really something you want to discover you have when you spend every day surrounded by the stuff, is it?” laughs the woman behind Maryhill’s popular Black Sheep Bistro.

Ironically, Angela believes it is entirely due to being surrounded by food that has led to her allergies, which mean she has had to ditch fish from the menu and ask other members of staff to crack eggs and taste dishes for her.

“The doctors told me that it’s likely my body just got to the point of being over-exposed to certain things and could no longer cope,” she explains.

“It’s really serious – I have severe reactions to things like seafood, egg whites and wheat. The other day, I ate a coconut biscuit which had egg white it in it and within minutes my lips had swollen up, my throat was itchy and my face was purple, it was awful.”

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She adds: “I have an ‘egg-cracker’ on hand when I’m baking, as I can’t even risk touching the whites; and I’m gutted I can’t have a roll and square sausage any more.

“It’s been a tough decision, too, to take fish and seafood off the menu, but our amazing customers have been very understanding.”

The Black Sheep Bistro is celebrating its ninth anniversary this Sunday (September 15) with “balloons, cupcakes and the launch of our new loyalty card,” says Angela.

“We’ll be giving away vouchers too. We’re just pleased to still be here - nine years is not too bad, considering we are just a tiny wee place in Maryhill.”

Angela, 56, runs the bistro with her partner Dave Grogan and daughters Claire, 34, and Emma, 25.

“Dave does the accounts and washes the dishes, and Claire was my original waitress – she still makes the occasional guest appearance,” smiles Angela.

“We have a small team of great staff now too.”

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Angela’s background is in catering - she ran her own businesses catering for Hillhead Rugby Club. She learned to cook as a teenager, helping out at the old Egmont Cafe on Dumbarton Road.

“It was a steep learning curve, going from feeding the rugby boys to running a restaurant,” she acknowledges.

“But I’d always wanted to set up on my own and when we found this place, I thought - why not?

“It was hard at first - the building was a bit of a mess, with a hole in the ceiling and tables and chairs everywhere.

“But I took one look at it and thought - we can do this. And we did.”

The popular restaurant consistently receives rave reviews for its hearty, homecooked food – not least of all from our very own Diner Tec and our sister newspaper The Herald – which often causes a commotion, laughs Angela.

“After one review a couple of years ago, people were queueing on the street outside,” she says, with a shake of her head. “It was crazy – I had to thank them all but tell them we would never get them all in at once!

“We are so grateful to everyone who has supported us. Around 85 per cent of the people who come here are regular customers.

“There are so many places to eat in Glasgow now, we are dead proud so many diners choose us.”