The north-east hotel owners reveal how they managed to cater for up to 45 members of the crew with a limited team.
Filming the latest series of BBC’s hit show Peaky Blinders in Portsoy earlier this month, the cast and crew of the programme pitched up in local venues across the village, one of them being The Station Hotel.
Built in 1859, Susan and her husband Euan have owned and run the hotel since 2003, and were delighted to welcome their special guests for over a month.
Feeding 45 crew on-site in the village for filming and sleeping 11, head chef Brian Stewart and sous chef Riley Catto, were delighted to be back in the kitchen cooking up a storm for the team.
Susan Cameron, owner of the hotel, said: “The film crew were easy to cater for. We had them stay from January 11 to February 16 and we had around 11 staying with the professions changing according to the stages of the film. Except for the the five days of filming when most had a 5:30am start and only had time for an evening meal, we gave them breakfast at 7am, a light lunch and an evening meal.
“Breakfast favourites were Hamlyns of Scotland porridge oats, Sutherland’s of Portsoy smoked salmon with scrambled free-range Graham’s eggs, pork sausages from our butcher Forbes Raeburn in Huntly, and black pudding from Ritchies of Aultbea on the west coast. We make our own jam for breakfast time which was appreciated, too.
“For the light lunch, we served hearty and homemade soups and pies like steak, mince or macaroni. Some of the ladies asked for Portsoy smoked salmon salads and homemade cakes and biscuits were very popular, including banana bread, barmbracks, and rocky roads to have with their tea and coffee after lunch.”
A highlight of many of the crew’s day, Susan says Cullen skink was a winner with the diners in the evening, with many of them enjoying local dishes – including requesting locally-caught lobster one evening.
She added: “The menu for dinner changed daily. Popular starters were hearty soups, like lentil, winter vegetable, cauliflower, tomato, and our Cullen skink with John Donald’s of Portsoy oat cakes was especially popular. There were chilli chicken bites, haggis bon bons in a whisky cream sauce, haggis nachos with guacamole and garlic mushrooms.
“Fish dishes were a main course favourite. Standing out was the chef’s salmon and prawn fish cakes served with a cheese sauce and a poached egg. One evening, by special request, chef cooked Portsoy caught lobster and crab with linguine in a tomato sauce, which everyone loved. Noodle and king prawn stir fry was another favourite, and of course, local battered or breaded haddock and chips.
“Over the course of the weeks we served a great variety of dishes like our beef burger with pulled pork, mac and cheese, butcher’s sausages and mash with a rich onion gravy and steak and ale pie.
“For dessert, the most popular ones were sticky toffee pudding, chocolate brownie, apple pie and cheesecake.”
Catering on set
Also ensuring the crew were fed throughout the day, the chefs would prepare warming soups, sandwiches and hot pies to keep them warm as they battled to film in icy conditions.
Susan said: “For catering for the crew at the harbour for the seven days prior to filming, it was so cold and we had on average 45 daily for lunch. We served individually portioned hot, hearty soups in lidded recyclable cups and two wrapped sandwiches per person. We delivered them to the site and then left.
“During one night of filming for the overnight crew, in sub-zero temperatures, we delivered hot soup, hot steak pies, macaroni pies and hot sausage rolls. Again everything individually portioned and packaged. We couldn’t hang around the set because of Covid-19 safety precautions and our catering required a lot of preparation, but that is the key to success in catering.
“In the weeks before filming during set construction we did get to visit the set, and were impressed with the workmanship.
“At the end of filming we received a lovely email from Maria Pavlou, the production manager thanking us for everything we did and that said the crew loved staying with us.
“They were hard working, busy, focused, professionals and they frequently said they appreciated the warm welcome they got in Portsoy. They all said they loved our food and hospitality, and some have booked holidays with us for later in the year. We can’t wait to see Peaky Blinders series six when it comes out in 2022.”