No need to weep for them but many of the nation’s restaurateurs are staring down the barrel of a rather more manic time.
And we’re not just talking about festive lunches and Hogmanay party dinners.
Immediately after the festive period tends to be a quiet time for the restaurant trade.
With tumbleweed blowing through the bookings diary, many operators take the opportunity to do maintenance or even make major changes to their restaurants.
John McNulty falls in the latter camp. Since 2012, he has been Chef Patron at The Taynuilt Hotel in Argyll.
When he bought it, Taynuilt was a centuries-old coaching inn which needed some TLC. John renovated the building and opened The Snug restaurant. Two AA Rosettes and regular mentions in the Michelin Guide followed.
Four years on, John is changing the emphasis of the building and renaming it The Taynuilt: Etive Restaurant with Rooms.
The dining room is being moved to a larger room while the old Snug is being turned into a private dining and tasting area. All being well, the first customers should be tucking in to their dinner on from Tuesday 6th January.
The Etive will be a showcase for John’s cooking. With just twenty covers, the aim is for the restaurant to offer an intimate, fine dining experience based on Scotland’s larder.
Menus will concentrate on provenance. John intends to use only local suppliers, where possible, and produce from the established kitchen garden, as well as creating dishes using the on-site smokery.
John says of his new endeavour:
‘I’m incredibly excited to be opening The Taynuilt: Etive Restaurant with Rooms in Taynuilt. Our corner of Scotland has one of the most well supplied natural larders in the country, and I’m very proud to be championing the local produce of this area.
‘Cooking and creating delicious food is my passion. To be able to do that in such a beautiful part of the world is a dream. I’m looking forward to welcoming old and new visitors and sharing this new project with them.’
At present, every item on the a la carte menu is prepared in-house from curing meat and fish, to butchery, chocolate and sugar work, stocks, sauces and pastry.
In addition to the Etive, guests who wish for something more casual will be able to enjoy a separate menu in the relaxed hotel lounge.
The traditional coaching inn will offer nine comfortable and contemporary bedrooms for foodie travellers, each named after Scottish Lochs.
John took on The Taynuilt when he was just 22. That may sound young but, having started in the kitchen at the age of thirteen, he already had considerable experience under his belt.
His CV includes stints at the George Hotel in Inveraray; Deans at Let’s Eat in Perth and the Kilberry Inn.
The 5pm Dining blog wishes Chef McNulty every success in the latest stage of his career.