IT’S a subject that would come up in conversation on a regular basis when I first started interviewing chefs for Glasgowist. 

Our local restaurants had been lauded by Conde Nast Traveler, New York Times, CNN and a variety of other outlets, yet the Michelin Guide had not deemed any of our restaurants worthy of one of their coveted stars for 18 years.

That changed this week when chef Lorna McNee was told as part of the online launch for the guide that Cail Bruich had been awarded a One Michelin Star rating, joins the select ranks of global restaurants to hold that distinction.

READ MORE: Cail Bruich: Glasgow gets first Michelin star for nearly two decades

While Lorna has only been in the kitchen on Great Western Road since late summer last year, the journey to this award started in 2008. 

That year brothers Chris and Paul Charalambous opened the Glasgow sister restaurant of Cail Bruich in Quarriers Village, choosing a place in the shadow of Oran Mor in the west end. Meanwhile, Lorna was joining Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles.

Glasgow Times: Cail BruichCail Bruich

Both Cail Bruich and Lorna worked hard to establish their reputations and with a modern refit of the restaurant in 2018, the stage was set for the two sides to unite and establish the menu, team and hospitality setting that have won the day.

After a year of missed opportunity and disappointment for so many of the city’s restaurants, it’s great to have something to cheer about and set the agenda for the future.

Star’s city memories

Angela McCluskey picks up the phone from her home in the Hollywood hills. She arrived in Los Angeles in 1993 while working on a movie, “I was supposed to be here for a week, but I kept looking around thinking this isn’t as bad as everyone makes out, so I decided to stay for a while”. 

She became the singer of a band, Wild Colonials, that had a residency at Café Largo and a cult LA following before they were signed by David Geffen. Angela immersed herself in a series of musical adventures.

Glasgow Times: Angela McCluskey, who swapped Glasgow for HollywoodAngela McCluskey, who swapped Glasgow for Hollywood

That’s a condensed version of the tale, which includes a timely intervention by the drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Before America it was London in the 1980s as a publicist at EMI and creating videos to be played on MTV. Along the way she married composer Paul Cantelon – they met when he was playing piano in a restaurant where she was having dinner with Hugh Grant.

Our conversation covers a lot of anecdotes, personal reflections and geographical locations but it all starts in Dennistoun – where I’m calling from and where Angela grew up. She remembers being shouted downstairs to sing for the adults at family parties. She has memories of the old roller-skating rink and The Palais and sitting at bus stops on Duke Street.

You can hear the connection to the area in her accent, which she thinks Americans find either confusing or fascinating. “I went full East End on a call the other day. I’m trying to fill out the forms to get my husband Paul nominated for an Oscar for a film score he wrote, and let’s just say the girl I was talking to at the Academy didn’t quite know what to make of me,” she says laughing.

Angela slips between stories with ease, asks me her own questions and I’ve almost forgotten why I wanted to speak to her in the first place.

The Big Light is a podcast network set up by broadcaster Janice Forsyth and producer Fiona White. It aims to showcase an entertaining mix of shows featuring Scottish voices and themes. Angela and Paul are the hosts of the latest addition to their podcast roster: You Could Start a Fight in an Empty House.

It’s very much a product of the pandemic. “We are quite social people, we’d do Sunday salons and have lots of folk over to the house and there would be food and drink, laughs and music. When that stopped, it wasn’t so difficult for me as I’ve quite enjoyed the time at home and in the garden.

Glasgow Times: Angela McCluskey, who swapped Glasgow for HollywoodAngela McCluskey, who swapped Glasgow for Hollywood

“As a musician you are used to being on tour all the time and waking up in St Petersburg or somewhere. That was half my life. After a while though I started to worry about my friends, some of them live on their own. We decided that we might start making little recordings and sending them out to them.”

One of these little audio dispatches found its way to Scotland and Janice Forsyth was impressed enough to invite the pair to join their podcast gang. Now there’s a show every week or so and Paul has started to compose a score to go alongside the chat.

As well as a bit of freewheeling entertainment for listeners, the conversations provide an opportunity for the couple to find out more about each other: “There’s all these things that happened that have never been mentioned before. We had these lives we had never even touched on. For us it was hysterical. 

“The recordings were just for pals at first, now the podcast is becoming a memoir of our lives.”