Who are you?
Adrian Gomes, founder of 10 Dollar Shake, an events company and bar operator in Aberdeen. I’m also proud to be one of the 100.
What do you do?
Everything, from loading the pick-up for an event and rocking a bar shift, to shelf-stacking our own gin ‘Jindea’ in the Rye & Soda bottle shop and hosting whisky tastings. As an independent company, our management team are very ambidextrous when it comes to our working culture and that flexibility is what allows us to reach across a number of sub-sectors in this industry.
How did you come to work in Scottish hospitality?
I followed various paths such as architecture, dj-ing, club management and music promotion until I realised that bars and restaurants is where the real fun is. I was probably a late-developer, reaching the age of 26 before I appreciated the contribution I could make to a hospitality business. I was fortunate to be an integral part of a very talented office team at Snafu, at one time considered one of the Top 100 Clubs in the World (Resident Advisor). I was General Manager for four fantastic (and hazy) years.
Who are/were your mentors and inspirations?
I probably lacked a mentor as such, but I’ve learned a great deal about life in general from every boss I’ve ever worked under. Over the years I’ve worked with some very inspirational people and I’m lucky to count a lot of them as good friends to this day. People make this industry. The good food and drink is a bonus.
What excites you about hospitality?
I think it’s evolving at an incredible speed right now, or perhaps I’ve never been more exposed to the trends and changes as I am right now. I’m excited for the new chapter that is starting to unfold in Aberdeen, a city on the cusp of re-inventing itself. The influx of tourism is driving change too, something we’ve never experienced to the level that Edinburgh has.
What are you doing to up Scotland’s hospitality game?
I’m not sure I’m doing anything other than embracing what lies ahead. There’s no point dragging my heels, this industry is going through some major changes and it’s about going with the flow and preparing for it. We’re reacting to a lot of external influences right now – political, legal and social, to name a few. The name of the game these days is adapt and grow.
What has been the pinnacle moment of your hospitality career so far?
I could sit on the fence and say there’s been a few, but with 10 Dollar Shake hitting seven years this year, I think the fact that we’re still here is the pinnacle. If we make it as far as to hit the grand old age of 8, then next year will be the pinnacle…and so on. It’s been a hard slog for everyone involved, still is, but I’m still motivated and ambitious, so there’s potential for more peaks yet.
What trends do you predict for Scottish produce?
There seems to be a growing trend for rare breeds. I’m interested to see the outcome of this new direction in farming.
What trends do you predict for the Scottish bar scene?
We’ve all done the speakeasy thing, the hipster Brooklyn thing…I think possibly an Asian influence on future openings, especially with the rise of Japanese whisky and pan-Asian cuisine. There’s also a shift in the ‘drink less, drink better’ ethos to more of a ‘drink less, drink healthier’ culture. We’re doing a lot of work with non-alcoholic drinks, using matcha, aloe vera, chia seeds and so on to create flavor, texture and wellbeing.
What trends do you predict for the Scottish restaurant scene?
This is tough. We’re seeing lines being drawn between vegan/sustainable and straight up decadence. I’m happy with that. Every day gets to be different. My personal ‘no meat, no meal’ mantra has been laid to rest and I’m experiencing a new-found appreciation of meat-free meals. Not to say that the steak and red wine night doesn’t have its place still!
What trends do you predict for the Scottish tourism scene?
This is easy. Aberdeen and Dundee. We’re the future. There’s seemingly a backlash against mass tourism these days and the effect it’s having on global cities such as Barcelona, Venice and indeed Edinburgh. It’s never been easier or cheaper to travel, and we all do it constantly. That increased footprint has to leave a permanent mark. Smaller cities and provinces, such as Aberdeen and the Shire, are now benefitting from the redistribution of tourists and we’re already seeing a huge increase in tour groups and whisky tastings.
What trends do you predict for Scottish brands?
Once all these gin distilleries mature their stocks of new make spirit, we’re going to see a lot of new whiskies to market. Much like the Scottish gin craze, I think the quality will vary greatly but consumers vote with their feet and the market will self-cull eventually. Exciting times though – it will also be interesting to try the new expressions from former silent distilleries (Port Ellen/Brora, etc.) in comparative tastings.
What is your biggest hospitality pet hate?
Hospitality staff who act like their paying guests are the barrier to their job satisfaction.
What would be your perfect Scottish night out?
As long as it involves food, wine, whisky and perhaps a Cognac to finish the evening, then I’d say I’m fairly open to ideas. It won’t involve clubs, bingos or casinos. I’m either too old or not old enough for those.
What would be your perfect Scottish holiday?
An isolated cabin in the middle of nowhere with walks for the dog, a fireplace and some grim weather outside. Perhaps a cheeky drive-through Burger King on the way home too…
Who would be you in dream hospitality team?
Who would be in my dream team? Matthew Dakers, Brett Murray and Tom Lawman. That was the dream team, all those years ago at Snafu. Today I still have the pleasure of working with Matt Dakers on our gin, Jindea Single Estate Tea Gin.
What has been the funniest moment of your hospitality career?
This is one of those occasions where you had to be there…
What is your favourite Scottish colloquialism/tradition?
The pub. And haggis.
Finally, what advice would you offer a young person/someone coming in to hospitality for the first time?
Be patient, learn your trade and get a sideline or hobby that pays so that you’re not obsessing about money, nor making bad career choices as a result.