RUPERT SHAKESPEARE - Chef/Proprietor
I trained and spent most of my early career in London, where I was born and grew up. I spent some years as a private chef in London, the South of France and Alpine ski resorts. In 2009 I set up and ran an award-winning artisan pasta & charcuterie business and between 2011 and 2015 I returned to restaurant work in London as a head chef. During this time I also ran a string of pop-up restaurants, ending with a 6-month residency in Kingston-upon-Thames for my seafood pop-up Bagley & Shakespeare (with my then-business partner Keith Bagley).
I came to Wester Ross in January of 2016 to take the position of Head Chef at the newly-refurbished Aultbea Hotel. Over the course of a couple of years, my small but highly motivated team built up an excellent reputation and won the hotel a few awards. It took a while for my fiancée Jenny (then my girlfriend) to be free to move up permanently, and meanwhile we spent her regular visits slowly exploring the area and falling in love with it. After the hotel was sold, and wanting to stay in the Highlands, we spent a season near Glen Coe, where I ran the kitchen at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel.
However, we were determined to move back 'up North' at the first opportunity and, when the chance to take over the former Whistle Stop Café came up, it was an easy decision to make. We knew the site well, and Lis had built up a great reputation for fresh local food over her ten years on the premises (as well as furnishing and equipping the premises from scratch; work which I have benefited from enormously). I hope to continue her good work and build on what she did before, using the incredible wealth of West Coast fish, seafood and game to offer a casual and friendly, high-quality venue for local residents and visitors alike.
Awards and press:
Scottish Hotel Awards
2019 - Informal Dining Restaurant of the Year (Argyll and Lomond) - Bridge of Orchy Hotel
2018 - Hotel Chef of the Year (Highlands) - Aultbea Hotel
Scottish Food Awards
2017 - Hotel Restaurant of the Year Fat Whippet @ Aultbea Hotel
AA Restaurant Guide
2017-18 Rosette for Culinary Excellence - Aultbea hotel
Herald Scotland 2016
'A taste of the new Highlands'
Great Taste Awards
2010 - Gold Star Award - Shakespeare Foods (4 categories in fresh pasta and charcuterie)