Together, Colin Nicholson and partner Jessica Thompson bring a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry both front and back of house. They share a huge passion for hospitality and are delighted to be welcoming guests to Mingary Castle from Spring 2021. They wish to create a warm and friendly environment for their team and guests.
Jessica’s hospitality career began as a part time kitchen porter at Langass Lodge on her home Island of North Uist. Jessica realised hospitality would be a rewarding career and decided to study an SVQ in Hospitality and supervision through a local college while working. During this year she met partner Colin. While working together they had an instant connection through their passion for hospitality, soon after completing her course she joined him in sunny Australia. Jessica worked her way through a few of Australia’s top destinations: Waitress at Qualia on Hamilton Island, Queensland, and Waitress before being promoted to Restaurant Supervisor at Lake House in Daylesford, Victoria. Hopping over to New Zealand, she furthered her experience by working as senior waiter at Craggy Range Winery in Hawkes bay and as Restaurant Supervisor at the Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, in the Bay of Islands.
“Australia and New Zealand provided me with so many opportunities within outstanding hospitality establishments to develop my skills and knowledge, and I thoroughly enjoyed them all”.
When returning to Scotland in 2018, Jessica took up the position of Assistant Restaurant Manager of Albert and Michel Roux Jnr Restaurant in the much esteemed Inverlochy Castle. After six months Jessica received a promotion to Restaurant Manager, where she continued to learn and work hard for just over two years.
“During my time at Inverlochy Castle, I learnt more than I can imagine about a five-star operation and not only did I enjoy developing my own skills but sharing them along with my knowledge to my team’” .
Jessica enjoyed making all guests welcome and delivering world class service in the 3AA rosette restaurant, Always looking to enhance her knowledge while working full time at Inverlochy Castle the WSET Level one and two was attained.
Jessica along with partner Colin, are delighted to have the opportunity to run Mingary Castle as their own. Jessica is passionate about, creating a memorable experience for her guests through warm and welcoming hospitality. She is also is a firm believer that a happy and valued workforce provides the best experience for guests.
3 AA award winning chef Colin, formally Head chef at Albert and Michel Roux Jnr ‘ restaurant at Inverlochy Castle. His journey to an award winning chef started with being accepted to the University of Strathclyde to do a Maths and Physics Degree, Colin switched last minute to do Hotel & Hospitality Management at the then Hospitality School at Strathclyde University having been inspired in his teens by his part time job at Langass Lodge on the Isle of North Uist. After completing his first year, Colin felt his passion for Cookery could be best fulfilled by returning to work full time at Langass Lodge, under the watchful eye of John Buchanan. Here he learned a range of skills from fish preparation to butchery, and classical cookery while studying Professional Cookery at Inverness College.
He then went onto work at Loch Lomond Golf Club under Darren Harrison for a season before joining the newly built cruise ship Seabourn Sojourn. Travelling from Hong Kong to Europe, experiencing new ingredients from many different countries.
Colin found himself returning to Langass Lodge as Sous Chef under John Buchanan for three years. Here he helped maintain Langass Lodge’s long reputation as being one of the best restaurants in the Western Isles.
“John Buchannan was not only a great chef but a great mentor and friend to me, and still is to this day”
It was here Colin met Jessica. With their keen interest in travel they both decided to pack their bags and head to a sunnier climate, Australia. Colin along with Jessica worked at Qualia on Hamilton Island, Queensland. They then found themselves working in one of Australia’s top and long-standing restaurants The Lakehouse in Daylesford.
“I absolutely loved working at the Lakehouse,, ‘the produce, the professionalism, the passion for Hospitality all stemmed from Alla Wolf-Taskers inspiration, leadership and passion for quality”.
The presentation of food was a lot cleaner and flavours lighter compared to back in Scotland. After a short stint in New Zealand, the couple returned home, with a wealth of new knowledge and skills.
Colin took on the role of Head Chef at Arisaig House, working with local suppliers and produce grown within the kitchen garden he achieved 2 AA Rosettes within six months and maintained the rosettes the following year.
He then took on the reins as Head Chef at Albert and Michel Roux Jnr’ Restaurant at Inverlochy Castle achieving 3 AA Rosettes within his first year.
“One of my goals on returning to Scotland was to have my own place’ and when the opportunity for Jessica and I to take on the lease of Mingary Castle we jumped at the chance”.
Colin’s passion for local, seasonal, and foraged ingredients helps him showcase Scotland’s natural larder, working closely with producers, fishermen and farmers to get the best available right on his doorstep.