Taste of the highlife
Published: 24 May 2016
Name: Martin Farmer
Job title: General manager of Orchid and “Jack of all trades’’ at Porter’s Gin
Company: Orchid Aberdeen & Porter’s Gin
A typical Monday morning for me starts with my better half Charlotte, aka the human alarm clock, waking me up about 8.30am. I then shower, get ready and head to Orchid for 9am.
I meet Ben Iravani, our managing director, and Nick Gordon, our assistant general manager, first thing for a brief chat about how the weekend was and to discuss our plan of action for the week.
At Orchid, we are committed to raising the standards for mixed drinks and cocktails in the Granite City and pride ourselves on our carefully selected drinks menu for Aberdeen’s discerning drinkers.
This means it is important for us to discuss new drink trends we have picked up on or ways so we can improve our menu for our customers. We also discuss and organise the bar’s schedule for the week and plan any events or business functions that have been booked in.
Every week is different for us, whether it’s catering for a birthday party, a networking event or an awards after party.
As we have such a wide range of clients, it’s important that we provide a drinks menu that caters for the diversity without straying away from our bespoke offering.
After our meeting, we treat ourselves to a flat white and a bacon sarnie to help kick-start the day.
There’s not really too much time to stop and chat for lunch as Mondays are often the busiest admin day of the week, and we are lucky as there are so many different eateries close-by, so we tend to take the food back to the bar, have a quick munch, then get straight back to work.
Most days, e-mails for table or event bookings are a top priority for the bar. However, I also help the Porter’s Gin team out with the deliveries and marketing of this offering.
The bar’s involvement with Porter’s Gin has been a huge achievement as
we have helped to create the first gin to be distilled in Aberdeen in over a century.
Orchid has an in-house lab where we have been witnessing the two-year development process of distilling the gin. The lab is also used to encourage staff to experiment with different syrups and flavours, using both locally sourced and international produce. It’s important we encourage staff to be creative when producing new cocktails and mixed drink ideas.
In the afternoon, I also plan a trip around Aberdeen or outwith, with Sean Moggach, Porter’s ambassador, to help spread the word of this exclusive product.
I also have time to set up macerations for making the gin and work on the
social media content and planning for both brands. I do most of the back of
house admin tasks for Orchid, which allows the rest of the management
team to focus on service and helping to train bar staff. This gives the guys more time on the bar with the guests. Building a rapport with visitors to the bar is important as it helps staff understand every customer’s palate, allowing them to create bespoke cocktails to suit their individual tastes.
My role has changed over the past few months at Orchid due to being more involved with Porter’s Gin. Because I’m taking on more duties during the day for both brands, my nights of working late behind the bar are few and far between, with Nick Gordon taking on a larger role of running the shifts. At the moment, my nights off consist of playing football and planning my wedding ahead of the big day in July. And if I still have time, I like to binge on a series such as Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead.