The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Celebrity chef Mafiz Ali announces Burns Supper at Ayr Spice

TV celebrity chef Mafiz Ali (pictured below) is delighted to announce that he will be holding his very first Burns Supper at Ayr Spice Indian Restaurant in Minishant, Ayrshire on Tuesday 24 January.

Master of Ceremonies will be Donald Kay, (pictured below) the leading interpreter of Rabbie Burns and his songs and poems.

All the traditions of Burns Suppers will be observed, including the entertainment and the menu of haggis, neeps and tatties, but Mafiz Ali may be adding a few twists and surprises of his own!

The whole evening is very reasonably priced at £24.95 per person, and you can book now by telephoning 01292 441413. .

Mafiz Ali
Ayr Spice Indian Restaurant
The Old Minishant Memorial Church
22 Ayr Road
KA19 8EX

Tel: 01292 441413

Ayr Spice Indian Cuisine can be found in the fine old red sandstone Memorial church at the entrance to the picturesque village of Minishant, 5 miles south of Ayr on the A77. The church was erected by the thread magnate Sir Peter Coats of nearby Auchendrane, in loving memory of his wife Glorianna, who died in 1877.

Mafiz Ali has enjoyed a busy and successful 2011.

He has made two guest appearances on STV’s popular early evening television programme “The Hour” with regular hosts Stephen Jardine and Michelle McManus.

The previous month, Mafiz Ali hosted a very successful luncheon meeting of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle, which further enhanced his already growing reputation amongst discerning diners in the local business community.

He has also already this year put on successful special menus to celebrate Mother’s Day, the Bangladeshi New Year and the Royal Wedding.

In the Spring of this year Mafiz extended the opening hours of Ayr Spice Indian Restaurant, which is now open from 12 noon 10.30pm every day.

For the Summer he introduced a Tandoori Barbecue, at which customers can dine al fresco (weather permitting!) in a family-friendly atmosphere with a tree-house for the kids and ample parking.

In the Autumn the newly refurbished upstairs function room seating 100 people was officially opened by South Ayrshire Deputy Provost Mary Kilpatrick, and Mafiz hosted a Halloween Party for the pupils, parents and teachers of Minishant Primary School

There will be further exciting developments to be announced during the course of the next few months which will cement Ayr Spice’s place as one of the top fine dining experiences in South West Scotland.

A set of photographs recalling some of the highlights of 2011 for Mafiz Ali at Ayr Spice Indian Restaurant in Minishant in Ayrshire, Scotland can be found on Flickr. CLICK HERE.


Mafiz climbed the ladder to fame when he won a chef of the year award in 1998 and, almost immediately, added one for exceptional hygiene and cleanliness. Newly crowned at Westminster, he was commissioned by the then prime minister, John Major to supply a banquet for his 50th birthday at Number 10 Downing Street.

A replica banquet was then ordered by one of the distinguished guests and sent to New York city. Since then he has sent food elsewhere in the USA and to Japan and Australia in what must be an almost uniquely international takeaway service! He has also catered for numerous celebrities from the world of entertainment and some have vowed to come to his restaurant while they are in Scotland on tour.

It is not widely known that 92% of all “Indian” restaurants in the UK are in fact Bangladeshi, and it was to promote such eating houses and reward young chefs by recognising their talents, that Mafiz founded the “British Bangladeshi National Curry awards” at the Houses of Parliament at Westminster, also in 1998.

Mafiz Ali has been closely associated with charities, notably when he entered the Guinness Book of Records with 4.5 tons of chicken korma, which was then eaten at a charity event. Because of the enormous quantities involved he had to seek the advice of a professional engineer for the technical realisation of the project.

No stranger to TV, Mafiz has been invited to return to STV for further programmes in the future. Channel 4, Big Breakfast TV and several others including Bangladeshi TV on which he has his own programme, number among the other stations for whom he has appeared, and he has made double that number of radio broadcasts, as well as contributing to many publications including the Times and Daily Mirror.


Mafiz Ali
Ayr Spice Indian Restaurant
The Old Minishant Memorial Church
22 Ayr Road
KA19 8EX

Tel: 01292 441413

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

South Ayrshire Council recognise employees who went the extra mile

What do a cleansing operative, a libraries team, a cemetery worker, Girvan Resource Centre team and an apprentice plasterer all have in common?

They were named this week as South Ayrshire Council Outstanding People Award winners at a ceremony in Ayr Town Hall.


The Outstanding People Awards is the Council’s reward and recognition scheme and celebrates those employees who go the extra mile to deliver the highest quality of service to residents and colleagues across South Ayrshire.

A total of fifteen individual and team nominations were shortlisted as finalists in five categories – Service Excellence, Innovation, Equalities in Action, Sustainability and Inspirational Young Employee.

The finalists were selected throughout the year from more than 130 nominations from Council employees and members of the public.

Selecting the Outstanding People Awards winners was a difficult task for the judging panel – made up of representatives from across the Council – as each person was a worthy finalist.

David Anderson, Chief Executive said: “The Outstanding People Awards not only recognised the best of our employees within the Council but the outstanding people who work in every corner of our organisation. The finalists and the winners are all terrific ambassadors for the Council and they should all be proud of what they have achieved.”

Councillor McIntosh, Leader of the Council said: “I believe it is important to recognise the positive contribution our employees make to the Council and to the lives of people across South Ayrshire. The energy, enthusiasm, dedication, drive, positivity and desire to be the best they can be made these employees stand out from the crowd.”

South Ayrshire Provost Winifred Sloan said: “I travel the length and breadth of South Ayrshire, meeting employees, volunteer groups and people within our communities, something I really enjoy. I get a lot of pleasure when people I meet tell me how great they think our employees are, and how much they appreciate the services we deliver.

An organisation is only as good as its employees and the employees of South Ayrshire Council set very high standards.”

The Outstanding People Awards 2011 finalists and winners (with details of the reasons for their nomination) are:

Service Excellence
• Clive Price
• Munch Crunch
• Gavin Welsh

Winner: Clive Price

Clive is a Cleansing Operative stationed in Ayr and he has been nominated for his dedication, commitment and quality of workmanship.

Clive’s nominees have described him as a gentleman who goes about his business without any drama or fuss and who is extremely well thought of by his work colleagues.

Residents regularly comment on how much they value Clive and his dedication to doing a job well. Recently the service received a letter from an appreciative resident, and Clive was also recognised in the Kincaidston Newsletter for his positive contribution to building a strong community. Clive’s valued work within the local area is appreciated by residents and visitors to the Kincaidston district who regularly remark on the excellent standards to which he works.

• Clare Kennedy
• Libraries Team
• Get on Your Bike Team

Winner: Libraries Team

The Libraries Team is based in locations across South Ayrshire and are nominated for the outstanding contribution they have made to the E-Book Revolution.

The team’s work has resulted in South Ayrshire being the first Council in Scotland to provide a free e-book and e-audio book download service to library users, and in September this year the Team led South Ayrshire to be the first Council in the World to publish an e-book in a range of formats that could be borrowed via the e-book lending service and downloaded from Amazon. The new service means that library users no longer need to visit the library – they can download books anywhere, at any time.

This nomination acknowledges the bold step taken by South Ayrshire Council to embrace the e-book revolution and the concept of moving into the e-age has been driven forward enthusiastically and positively by the Libraries Team.

Equalities in Action
• Linda Hall
• Margaret Catterall and Susan Hughes
• Girvan Resource Centre Team

Winner: Girvan Resource Centre

The Girvan Resource Centre Team have been nominated for the work they have been doing to ensure the Girvan Opportunities project is a success.

Following the withdrawal of Ayr College Further Education services in Girvan for people with learning difficulties, the Girvan Resource Team developed a tertiary curriculum to be delivered locally by staff and volunteers. As you can see, the team get involved with all activities much to the appreciation and benefit of their clients.

Girvan Opportunities offers courses that develop social, employment and independent living skills and it is the hard work and determination of everyone in the Team that is to be celebrated with this nomination.

• Anne Smillie
• Street Lighting Project Team
• John Fergusson

Winner: John Fergusson

John is a Cemetery Worker who has been nominated for his inspiring ideas that are helping to promote wildlife diversity in cemeteries and crematoriums across South Ayrshire.

John has been working hard with Scottish Natural Heritage and has a pilot project operating which has included planting a variety of bulbs, as well as fitting a number of nesting boxes to attract a wide variety of wildlife within the Cemetery. John is preparing to roll this great project out across other cemeteries and crematoriums in South Ayrshire with plans to link in to local primary schools to promote a wider understanding of the environment.

Described as respectful, hardworking, kind and always ready to lend a hand or a word of advice, John’s idea has been a huge success which has been demonstrated by sightings of red squirrel, and the even more elusive Holly Blue butterfly. John has started a project that will have a positive impact, which will echo through the community for generations to come.

Inspirational Young Employee of the Year
• Kirsty Gerrish
• Kristofor Breingan
• Sarah Crawford

Winner: Kristofor Breingan

Kristofor is a craft apprentice training to be a qualified plasterer. Having established himself as an apprentice who was keen to learn all aspect of the trade, Kristofor has been nominated for his positive attitude towards his work and training.

Kristofor’s pleasant good humour and willingness to learn has made him very popular with his colleagues and both his apprentice reviews and college reports are always excellent.

Having won the Reid Kerr College apprentice of the year earlier this year, Kristofor has made a positive impact in the workplace which is to be celebrated as he has made himself an asset to the service.

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Christmas in style in a Scottish castle or country cottage!

A Christmas break in a cosy cottage with a log fire in the beautiful Scottish countryside is hard to beat, whilst spending New Year in an idyllic country mansion or stunning castle with a group of friends is the perfect way to see in the New Year in style.

Celebrating a festive getaway in Scotland need not break the bank as many stunning castles, large country retreats or cosy cottages can be all yours at a reasonable price, with some good discounts available through Cottages & Castles Ltd.

Cottages and Castles, Scotland’s specialist holiday lettings agency, has experienced an increasing trend this year from large groups of family and friends booking Scottish castles and country mansions over the Christmas and New Year period, as they are one of the most affordable options, according to manager Sue Bourne.

To stay in some of the most spectacular large rural properties available in Scotland, it can cost as little as £20 per person per night.

Sue said: “In a difficult economic period, booking a self-catering holiday in Scotland allows people to control their own costs for food and drink without having to pay high prices at bars and hotels. Our customers, both from home and abroad, love the individual touch and the unusual settings that our properties can offer, especially over the festive period – and what could be better than your very own Hogmanay Ceilidh in a stunning Scottish castle!

“This year has seen a number of bookings where people are coming in from all over the world to meet in a Scottish house to celebrate Hogmanay, with the added appeal of the chance of some winter snow.”

Holidaymaker Charles Morrison has been booking New Year breaks through Cottages & Castles for three years now as part of a large group of friends. Charles said: “We have booked a variety of properties in the past and this year we’re staying in Loch Avich House, a large Victorian Lodge in Taynuilt, Argyll. The advantage of booking self-catering is the space a large exclusive house offers and the ability to be with close friends in a relaxed private environment where we can also do our own cooking, which we find very sociable.

“Living near London it’s nice to escape the city life at this time of year. As our group of friends live all over the country, New Year is the ideal time to get together and there’s no better place to celebrate Hogmanay than in the beautiful Scottish countryside.”

An enviable range of properties to suit all tastes and budgets is still available over the festive period through Cottages & Castles. Some of the best deals for large groups include:

* The Shieling - Troon, Ayrshire – sleeps 10 - Christmas week £2500 and New Year week £2750.

The Shieling is set in an exclusive and beautiful area of Troon and is a formerly Gardener’s House to a large Victorian House, which benefits from mature vistas, privacy and a real sense of calm. A mere walk from the famous championship golf course, seaside or woodland walks, this house really is a perfect base to enjoy the countryside, especially over the festive period. The house itself has been renovated and extended to an exceptionally high standard and it is designed to ensure you have a wonderfully sociable stay with the many attractive public rooms leading on to each other and to the gardens – you’ll certainly feel that you are living in five star comfort. As well as the numerous golf courses, you can visit spectacular Culzean Castle, explore Burns Country, take advantage of the excellent local restaurants and see the beautiful Troon marina. CLICK HERE

* River Lodge, Inverness – sleeps 12 - £5000 for Christmas or New Year week with short breaks over festive period available from £3750.

River Lodge is a five star luxury property which offers exceptional holiday accommodation in a tranquil wooded location between Loch Ness and the city of Inverness. The lodge enjoys picturesque views over the River Ness providing an ideal retreat, perfect for large groups. The lounge with its truly magnificent fireplace and double height cathedral ceiling forms the centre point of the property with the grand picture window allowing guests to marvel at the breathtaking views over this famous river. CLICK HERE

* Glenfeochan House, near Oban – sleeps 14 - New Year week reduced from £3900 to £3600.

Glenfeochan House is in a wonderfully secluded positioned on a private estate overlooking its own lake with glorious views to Loch Feochan yet only five miles from the harbour town of Oban. This impressive baronial-style house has tremendous character and history and is furnished to the highest standard. The drawing room offers sumptuous leather seating and open log fire and stunning views across the loch is sure to create the backdrop to memorable evenings. The private tennis court, well equipped gym, snooker table, table tennis and table football will offer hours of entertainment whilst the rowing boats on the private seven-acre lake or walks round the walled garden and Victorian Arboretum offer some tranquil afternoons. CLICK HERE

* Burgie House - Burgie, near Forres – sleeps 25 - Christmas week was £3000 now only £2250

A large beautiful country house set amidst 1500 acres, Burgie House is a welcoming and family friendly holiday house that is perfect for a large group offering an abundance of charm and character. This much loved family house includs a wonderful basement billiard room and a fantastic Ceilidh room – a great ‘play area’ for young and old. Outside, there are beautiful grounds complete with Arboretum and lochans, paddocks (you can bring your own horse if you wish), natural woodlands and walking/cycling tracks as well as large lawns and BBQ areas. Burgie can offer you field sports on the estate, catering for all or some of your meals if you prefer not to self-cater and some housekeeping should you wish. CLICK HERE

* Easterheughs Castle – Aberdour – sleeps 10 – Christmas week £3900and New Year week £4600

Grade A listed Easterheughs Castle is situated high above the Firth of Forth and enjoys a dramatic and breathtaking location with views of Edinburgh Castle. The tower holds many architectural surprises and is immersed in history and to add to the prestige, the castle was once the home of the famous Scottish painter Jack Vettriano. The interior of the castle is immaculate and full of character and the accommodation is beautiful and boasts traditional atmospheric steep twisty stair cases. The master bedroom has sole access onto an outside turreted terrace complete with cannons for protection! The grand drawing room has a cleverly hidden false door which leads to a small movie cinema whilst the timber lined dining room is charming and lends itself nicely to formal dinner parties or even a Scottish ceilidh. CLICK HERE

For more information on all properties available over the festive period through Cottages & Castles CLICK HERE or call 01738 451610.

About Cottages & Castles Ltd

Cottages and Castles Ltd is Scotland’s specialist holiday lettings company with over 600 properties in its portfolio. The firm’s dedication and attention to detail has made them one of the largest self catering companies in Scotland offering an enviable range of holiday cottages, exclusive large houses, holiday castles, Scottish mansions and country lodges.

The firm is operated by CKD Galbraith, one of Scotland’s leading independent property consultancies with 12 regional offices throughout Scotland.

CKD Galbraith's Ayr Office is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.