- Thursday, 18 July 2019

Eatery hopping: Cairngorm Coffee Co., Edinburgh

sneak peak: a story about the time I almost became a chef at Cairngorm Coffee Co. in Edinburgh


Eatery hopping: Cairngorm Coffee Co., Edinburgh, imogen molly blog, www.imogenmolly.co.uk



Before I got my uni summer job at Lululemon, I was on the verge of accepting a job as sous chef at Cairngorm Coffee Co. This, frankly, was a pretty deluded proposition from the café, considering that the only job (if you can call it that) I had had before that point was donating my Saturdays to a local charity shop. I had ventured into Cairngorm with a meticulously curated CV and cover letter that aimed to disguise my blinding lack of barista experience (and my even more blinding lack of balance and spatial awareness, both fairly important when dealing with brim-full hot drinks), and asked if I could wait tables and serve coffees.

Eatery hopping: Cairngorm Coffee Co., Edinburgh, imogen molly blog, www.imogenmolly.co.ukEatery hopping: Cairngorm Coffee Co., Edinburgh, imogen molly blog, www.imogenmolly.co.uk










The decor was part of the reason for applying. They had only recently opened, and I had heard glowing reviews of the café's interior. I was, therefore, thrilled when I walked through the door into a beautiful, minimalistic, bright, clean, airy space, full of stone countertops and copper detailing. "I could serve coffees here," I thought contentedly to myself. It was, after all, the kind of place where even a wonkily-presented coffee with a couple of guilty slops down the edge of the cup would still taste good.


Eatery hopping: Cairngorm Coffee Co., Edinburgh, imogen molly blog, www.imogenmolly.co.ukEatery hopping: Cairngorm Coffee Co., Edinburgh, imogen molly blog, www.imogenmolly.co.ukEatery hopping: Cairngorm Coffee Co., Edinburgh, imogen molly blog, www.imogenmolly.co.uk

Luckily for all involved, it never reached that stage. I arrived for my trial shift, ready to master the monstrous coffee machine, and was whisked downstairs into the dungeon. Sorry, basement. Sorry, downstairs cupboard. Sorry, no, it was the kitchen.

To give Cairngorm its due, the windowlessness of the glorified cupboard that served (serves?) as a kitchen didn't have any discernible impact on the deliciousness of the food that was created there. Delighted as I had been with the bright airiness of the upstairs, though, this vole hole was not exactly the cheerful coffee shop environment I had set my job-hunting heart on.


Eatery hopping: Cairngorm Coffee Co., Edinburgh, imogen molly blog, www.imogenmolly.co.ukEatery hopping: Cairngorm Coffee Co., Edinburgh, imogen molly blog, www.imogenmolly.co.uk










I dutifully shadowed the chef while she prepared what may still be the most delicious salad I have ever eaten. Shadowing largely involved enthusiastically agreeing that the chef's 'throw it together' ideas for a dressing did sound good, and yes I could get the lavender honey down from that shelf. Enormous tray of salad ready and tasted, we headed upstairs into daylight and windows and civilisation and coffee shop chatter once more. I met two baristas and crossed my fingers that shadowing them would be next on the list.

"It must be great having stuff like this for your lunches," I ventured to one of the two Silent Baristas (doesn't have quite the same ring as the Naked Chef).
"Oh, I don't eat the food here. I bring my own lunch. I count macros." Silent Barista number one then produced a tupperware box containing what can only described as the Most Boring Lunch on Earth. So boring, in fact, that the details escape me, but it was something along the lines of that perplexing favourite - chicken, rice and broccoli.

Eatery hopping: Cairngorm Coffee Co., Edinburgh, imogen molly blog, www.imogenmolly.co.ukEatery hopping: Cairngorm Coffee Co., Edinburgh, imogen molly blog, www.imogenmolly.co.uk

And lo, my trial shift was over and the intricacies (and indeed the basics) of coffee-making remained a mystery. They are still a mystery. I'm not a coffee drinker, so they will probably always be a mystery, but it would have been fun to learn.

A couple of days later, an email pinged through offering me a part-time job in the kitchen. I wouldn't be solely in charge, I was assured, I would be assisting the chef. Okay, a bit too underground for my liking, but I can cope. A proposed schedule for the next couple of weeks was attached to the email, and LO AND BEHOLD there were a number of shifts where I was to be the only person in the kitchen. I told them I didn't feel the slightest bit prepared to work the kitchen on my own and had actually wanted to be a barista so could I please be a barista, but no, they didn't need any more baristas, they needed an extra chef, and I had a food blog, so could I please be the chef.

Eatery hopping: Cairngorm Coffee Co., Edinburgh, imogen molly blog, www.imogenmolly.co.uk

Needless to say, I declined and ended up working the summer in Lululemon instead (which incidentally also had a basement but about a thousand times the size and used for yoga rather than cheffing). The main difference, had I accepted, would simply have been that my activewear wardrobe would be neither as nice nor as expansive, and I wouldn't still be pining over my Lulu staff discount of yore.


Eatery hopping: Cairngorm Coffee Co., Edinburgh, imogen molly blog, www.imogenmolly.co.ukEatery hopping: Cairngorm Coffee Co., Edinburgh, imogen molly blog, www.imogenmolly.co.uk










The point of this eatery hopping, though, is to talk about the eatery itself, so: the salad was fantastic and I still use the notes I took afterwards to recreate it; the decor and resulting ~vibe~ is lovely; the oat hot chocolate was excellent; Mum's slice of lemon elderflower cake also disappeared reassuringly quickly.

*All photos in this post are mine. If you wish to use any, please ask my permission and credit me!*

3 comments:

  1. p sure you would have owned that kitchen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. P sure you're right (even if it was an unusual decision to even consider putting a 19-year-old with no similar experience in sole charge of the kitchen, particularly when said 19-year-old was me).

      Delete
  2. You have a real talent for writing unique content. I like how you think and the way you express your views in this article. I am impressed by your writing style a lot. Thanks for making my experience more beautiful. commercial coffee machines

    ReplyDelete