Swapping the glamour of New York for the heat of the kitchen has helped Hamish Carruthers give a jobs boost to the village of Gattonside.
The 31-year-old, who moved to the Big Apple six years ago to launch an international fashion brand, had initially joked about returning to the Borders to buy the Hoebridge Inn, where he had first job as a dishwasher.
Then, last October, he and partner Kyle Tidd, 28, an assistant to a leading American artist, decided they both wanted a career change – ploughing their life savings into buying the eatery which had been on the market for two years.
Both were united by a passion for good food and wine. Hamish is a self-taught chef who honed his skills hosting dinner parties for up to 30 people in New York, while Kyle has worked in leading restaurants in the past, including a Michelin-starred Manhattan establishment.
With help from Business Gateway Scottish Borders, Hamish, who heads up the kitchen, secured a grant through the Scottish Borders Business Fund to install new equipment and a loan from the UK Government-backed Start-Up Loans Company, which was used to completely refurbish the restaurant.
Now he and Kyle, who is in charge of front of house, anticipate creating up to 10 seasonal jobs, taking the total employed at the restaurant to a potential 20 over the busy Christmas period.
“Since opening in June we’ve had over 2,500 customers through our doors, and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Hamish. “We’ll soon need a seasonal staff to help us cope.
“I never imagined I would return to Gattonside, but coming home has provided me and Kyle with an opportunity we would not have had anywhere else and the support we’ve received from the local community has been fantastic.
“The advice from Business Gateway and the funds we were able to secure has been invaluable for two guys who have never run a business before.”
Steve Osbourne of Business Gateway, told us: “We are glad our support has helped them establish an eatery that has already been nominated for ‘The Best New Restaurant’ in the Born in the Borders Food & Drink Awards 2015.”