A former student at Dumfries and Galloway College (DGC) has spoken of her delight after her local deli was chosen to provide the catering at the Celebration of Success day at Stranraer.
The event last month gave learners the chance to enjoy their achievements with friends and lecturers as they received their certificates from DGC Principal Joanna Campbell and the Chair of the Board of Management, Caroline Stuart.
Gill McWhirter was thrilled that her Graze Thyme deli was on hand to help students, staff and guests celebrate with a fabulous lunch menu for everyone to enjoy on the big day.
Gill — whose eatery recently won Wigtownshire Business of the year 2023 and also the scooped the Best New Business award in 2022 at the Scottish Business Awards — said: “It was a pleasure to come back and I’m so glad the students and staff enjoyed lunch… I’ve had some fabulous feedback.”
After studying professional cookery for two years at Stranraer, Gill began working in a café but was furloughed nine months later due to the pandemic. During this time, she was scrolling through Instagram and saw charcuterie graze boards, which inspired the beginning of her lockdown business, delivering high-end food orders to the people of Stranraer.
She added: “I then started doing all sorts of boxes, including afternoon teas. These took off and I was making and delivering seven days a week. I think the most I did in one day was 64 Mother’s Day afternoon teas on my own in my tiny wee kitchen at home!
“The opportunity came up to take on the coffee shop in Castle Street and I went for it. With the money I had saved doing my boxes, I put the lot into getting my business up and running.
“I was so lucky that I managed to expand my little lockdown business and turn it into my dream coffee shop.
“I now employ nine wonderful girls, including my mum and daughter, and I couldn’t do it without any of them. Graze Thyme Café is almost two years old, and we have just won business of the year and best new food business.”
Joanna Campbell, Dumfries and Galloway College Principal, said: “Everyone at DGC was delighted to welcome Gill to our Celebration of Success event.
“Her Graze Thyme Café is a fantastic success story and is a fitting tribute to Gill’s hard work, talent and passion for creating delicious food.”