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Inverness BID Person Behind the Business Q&A: Aiming high is always on the menu

By Features Reporter

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Christine Robertson, manager at The Mustard Seed restaurant. Picture: James Mackenzie
Christine Robertson, manager at The Mustard Seed restaurant. Picture: James Mackenzie

Person Behind the Business in association with Inverness BID

Q How would you describe the business?

A The Mustard Seed has been trading for 22 years under the ownership of Catriona Cameron and Simon Littlejohn. From opening, it has offered a set price two-course lunch, early evening dinner and a dinner menu at night, complemented by a sweet board with homemade desserts. Our restaurant has evolved over the years as tourism has developed but all our local customers remain our priority and we have been so lucky over the years to retain their support which we fully appreciate. Business trade and tourism have developed into a large part of our business and we have also been lucky enough to welcome many stars over the years!

Q What led you into the business?

A My career began as a primary teacher, evolved into a leisure development officer in Ross and Cromarty, a leisure centre manager in Alness, co-owner of bars, Barbazza and Osbournes, in Inverness and 18 years as manager of The Mustard Seed. We also built The Kitchen Brasserie, Thirty Degrees Laundry and Art House Apartments, all of which I have loved being involved in and developing with the owners. I have enjoyed developing the businesses with our staff and met so many amazing customers over the years, some of which are now firm friends!

Q What is your greatest achievement?

A My three sons who have supported me and occasionally driven me nuts over the years! They have always supported whatever is going on and have been there for all the good and very occasional bad times in my life! I now have four grandchildren! Professionally, I try to make whatever I am involved in the best it can be and have to admit I am seriously proud of all we have achieved over the years…both personally and professionally.

Q Who do you admire in business?

A Knowing how hard it can be at certain times, I admire all those people in Inverness who set up and run their own businesses. There are restaurants in town that have been operating around the same length of time as us and are still thriving and providing Inverness with a variety of good quality options for all to enjoy. I have learnt from many of them over the years but glad we are all individually providing different experiences and welcome all the new starts in Inverness which will provide the quality in the future. I have been so lucky with Catriona and Simon who are both experienced operators and whose standards I have adopted and developed, and it’s always great to have them at the end of a phone!

Q What’s your advice to budding entrepreneurs?

A To all those starting up a new business in Inverness – well done! It is a fantastic city with a variety of visitors throughout the year providing a great base to start up! Do your homework, invest wisely, surround yourself with the best team you can and do not be afraid of hard work! Look after your locals, treat them well and they will look after you in return.

Q Can you tell us more about yourself?

A I have been so lucky to have taken part in so many events, raising funds for groups and also developing personal interests. I’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, raising funds for Epilepsy Scotland, cycled Death Valley with my friends Ali and John (whom we all miss dearly) from Focus Vehicle Rental for Highland Hospice and Epilepsy Scotland, and taken part in many local cycling events. Customers have been a huge support in my fundraising and staff have helped organise events. I am extremely grateful – thank you all!

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