What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Vladislava Spasova and I am from Svishtov, Bulgaria (born and raised). I am living in Crianlarich, Scotland at the moment.
When did you join the team at The Real Food Café?
I started working for The Real Food Café on 10th of April 2017, then a year later I went home with my boyfriend to get married and have a nice honeymoon. I missed Scotland and The Real Food Café team, so I came back and re-joined in 2019, still super happy to be part of such a great team.
Can you tell us about your job role at The Real Food Café?
Mostly front of house as I love to give our customers the best experience possible when they visit us. I mainly take orders (in the café and online), make drinks and serve tables or deliver orders to customers cars. We are encouraged to try all different roles in the café, so I have also spent some time in the kitchen as a fish fryer. Most recently, I have been helping out in the office once per week which is all new to me, it means I get to know the business inside out. I am so thankful for our managers for giving me the opportunity to develop my skills.
What do you get up to when you aren’t working?
In my free time I like to read outside (weather permitted). We are surrounded by beautiful nature up here, so I try and enjoy it whenever I can. I have taken up gardening too it brings me a lot of joy. Not everything survives and I am still learning, it has taught me that if something doesn’t work the first time, keep trying!
Do you have favourite local walk or spot you can recommend around Tyndrum and beyond?
There is this lovely spot behind the café when you take The West Highland Way, about 40 minutes into your walk you will see a river called Fillan. It is a lovely place to stop relax and enjoy the terrific views. I do not know if there is a name for this place, but I can guarantee is a breath taking. Also, the Falls of Falloch that is not very far from Tyndrum is just stunning.
What is your favourite dish on The Real Food Café menu?
Well, there is nothing I do not like on our menu to be honest, but in my opinion Real Food Café Fish burgers are the best. I eat many of those and they never get less tasty! The tartare sauce we make is one of a kind, I always have it and some extra for my chips too! If you ever get to order fish & chips from us, definitely try and the tartare sauce, you will not find a better one in my opinion.
As custodians of our local landscape, our Café Manager, Colin McGeoch, was inspired to start a monthly litter picking, the first of which coincided with Zero Waste Scotland’s Keep Scotland Beautiful Campaign (28th May – 20th June).
On our first litter pick that took place on 30th May we were blown away by the support from off duty team members, locals, regulars and Flingers from the Highland Fling Race. A bunch of the Tyndrum 24 runners came to our second one and some West Highland Way racers will be joining our July pick. We are very grateful for the support shown from these organisations.
We provide hi-vis jackets, litter pickers and bags for all of our volunteers and with great enthusiasm from everyone involved, we managed to collect 28 sacks of litter which weighed 125kg!
The vast majority of the litter was crisp packets, bottles and cans which could not only posed a danger to local wildlife in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, but also it makes the area unsightly. It is extremely important for rural areas to remain clean, as rural businesses rely so heavily on tourism. If the area looks like a dumping ground, tourists will be put off visiting. Keeping the area looking beautiful is vital right now.
Our second litter pick happened on 27th June and we collected a further 89kg! Our owner, Sarah and her 83-year-old mum took part in this one, we even had some children as young as eight get involved. There were also volunteers who travelled from Clackmannanshire and Glasgow by bus. Rubbish collected comprised the usual mountain of empty bottles, crisp packets and wet wipes, along with a tent, deckchairs and disposable barbeques. There was an appalling amount of rubbish left near the Crianlarich by-pass and around Loch Iubhair where we tidied up but left a further 18 sacks of rubbish. This time round, it was the rise in the number of people leaving disposable barbeques behind that is a worry, they’re quite dangerous, sharp and if not put out properly could cause major damage to the area.
We thank each and every one of our volunteers for giving up their free time to help us, we really do appreciate it.
Each monthly litter picking session will take place 11am – 1pm. You will meet at the meeting point at 10:15am, where our team will be on hand with your kit and explain health and safety to you. We are rewarding volunteers with free tea, coffee and home baking to keep up morale during the pick, plus a serving of our award-winning fish and chips!
Interested in taking part? Here is a list of our litter pick dates:
Sunday 25th July
Sunday 29th August
Sunday 26th September
Sunday 31st October
The next litter pick from The Real Food Café will be Sunday 25th July, please send us a firstname.lastname@example.org if you are hoping to take part as we have 20 spaces for volunteers, with full instructions and meeting points circulated beforehand.
In addition to being assessed by VisitScotland as 'Good to Go’ under their Covid safety scheme, we are very pleased to be have been accepted as part of the the AA Covid Confident scheme.
The AA is the UK’s largest motoring organisation with over 15 million members. The members use the organisations website for all things to do with motoring including planning journeys. This will be a useful tool for us as we operate in uncertain times for helping us market our business, UK wide to staycationers.
To be eligible as members of this scheme, we had to submit our risk assessments, staff training records and information about our working practices and the physical changes we’ve made to the café to allow for social distancing and extra hygiene like our new outdoor wash hand basin and numerous hand sanitising stations throughout the café.
We hope that most of all this latest accreditation will give you, our customers enhanced peace of mind that we are on our game when it comes to all things Covid and your safety.
In light of the announcements by the First Minister of Scotland on 7th & 8th October, effective from 6pm on Friday 9th until 9pm on Sunday 1st November , the café will fully be open from 07.30 to 18.00 and thereafter from 18.00 – 21.00 for Click & Collect and Take Away only using our on line ordering system.
The inside of the café and the outside seating must be shut daily by 18.00.
To ensure we adhere to being shut by 18.00, the last time for customer entry will therefore be 17.15. We will need to strictly adhere to being shut by 18.00, so please help our staff by being understand of the situation and help us comply.
We will not be serving any alcohol to either drink in or take away.
If the café is closed, use our website or QR code, to pre order a slot if there is one available or simply turn up and order from our car park using our external WiFi and join the virtual queue.
We have outdoor wash handing facilities and the pubic loos next door are open.
When your food is ready it will be delivered to the boot of your car by one of our team who will be dressed in appropriate high vis PPE for yours and their safety.
Please see below for our COVID safety measures and processes for dining in the café when it is open.
Safety is vital…everyone’s talking the talk, but we are working hard to walk the walk!
Back in October 2019 we held our inaugural 'Gluten Free Fortnight' and it has been judged as worthy of a top slot in the category of 'Best Marketing Campaign' for these prestigious awards.
We are delighted – obviously! Its great for the motivation of our team to be recognised in this way and that’s something which is double valuable during these testing times. The fact that all of the other finalists bar one are part of large, national or international multiples makes it feel like an achievement just to be there, although of course we want to win!
Its also good news for our customers when we succeed within the industry in a high profile manner with a promotion like this. This is because these promotions are built on collaborations with larger supplier companies and organisations than ourselves, and this sort of prestigious recognition means it will be easier for us to get support to put together more and even better events in the future.
We were very grateful to all the customers who came from far and wide to try the special menu and gave us glowing reviews and to those who completed our questionnaire for the market research by our SVQ candidates. Finally, to those who shared our posts and spread the word on social media and by word of mouth, we thank you all.
We fully intend to put on a re-run of Gluten Free Fortnight during 2021, so watch this space.
#Cateys2020 @Caterertweets @CoeliacUK @KerryFoodsOfficial #Goldensheafbattermixes @GreenCityWholesale