Lorna McNee joined Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at the Gleneagles Hotel as an apprentice in October 2008.

She rose through the ranks, supported by Andrew and head chef Stevie McLaughlin. After over a decade in the kitchen at Scotland’s only two Michelin star restaurant, she announced she was moving to Glasgow. 

The talented chef said her ambition was “to be able to go in and do my own thing, create my own food, my own menu, have my own team. That's what I'm looking forward to doing, creating what it is that's me - rather than helping create something for someone else." 

A former Scottish Chef of the Year, who represented Scotland on BBC’s Great British Menu, Lorna’s arrival in the city is a jolt of excitement after local hospitality’s moribund period of lockdown. 

I spoke to her by email last month. She said she was “very busy menu planning, re-organising the kitchen and getting everything else ready for what is to come”. Where she would be working remained a mystery. 

It was something that people talk about at restaurant events, a source of speculation and interest. Everyone knows one of the best chefs in the country is working in a Glasgow kitchen right now, yet there has been no official announcement. 

Glasgow Times:

Yesterday, Cail Bruich posted a picture to their Instagram feed that I immediately recognised. It featured a simple, artistic presentation of Katy Rodger’s crème fraîche, topped with Leadketty strawberries and basil. The plate was the exact same as one Lorna had shared on her own account in July while trialing dishes destined for the new project. 

You don’t have to be Diner Tec to work out what that means. I’ve contacted Cail Bruich for comment. 

Praise for gin school 

Crossbill’s popular gin school, hosted in their distillery at The Barras, is ready for the new normal. You can join classes and make your own spirit, experimenting with miniature copper stills while pondering the merits of different ingredients and flavour profiles. The experience is ready for the new normal with screens added to the workbench where you learn a new skill. 

Glasgow Times:

Crossbill’s distilling started in 2006 with a botanical vodka. Philip Craig explains: “We developed a brand called Pincer which is infused with wild elderflower and milk thistle. It was probably released ahead of its time - it was before gin really took off. Pincer did well and has a strong niche following, it’s listed in Waitrose. There’s a lot more interest in botanical vodka now and we’re in the process of relaunching the brand.”

Gin remains the thing for the company. They joined the wave of small producers who entered the market following a surge of interest in this drinks category. Crossbill only use two ingredients for their own gin brand - juniper and rosehip - both sourced in Scotland. “Scottish juniper is hard to find, it took us two years to find a sustainable supply in the Aviemore area” Philip says. 

Plans for a distillery in the highlands were exchanged for a move to Glasgow in 2016 and since then Crossbill has firmly put down roots in the East End. “This area is straight-forward, down to earth and there is no nonsense. That’s the same philosophy that we have, so it works well for us. We are a good fit.” The company has built good relationships with local bars and restaurants - look for Crossbill on cocktail menus at The Gate, 226 Gallowgate and Saint Luke’s. 

Philip says the gin school is a fun day out but also attracts people who are serious about creating their ideal drink. “If you have a particular type of gin you like, we can help you make it from scratch. Groups come along to the school for a day out, but we also have people who have developed their own recipe and come back to us any time they want to make a new bottle”. If you feel like distilling a new addition to your drinks cabinet, you can sign up for the school at crossbillgin.co.uk. 


Good news for Finnieston as Crabshakk have announced they will return on 4th September. The restrictions on venues has been tougher for places with a smaller capacity and Crabshakk was among the well-known names who sat out the initial reopening period. Into next month, as government support recedes, it will be sink or swim time for our favourite food and drink places. We’re delighted to hear that the wee Shakk on Argyle Street are ready to reopen and welcome customers back, albeit with a reduced capacity.

They have introduced a booking system, including deposit, QR code customer tracing, one metre social distancing and controlled arrival and departure times. You can expect the same outstanding Scottish seafood, which you will now be able to enjoy with a bit more elbow room.