Staff at Tain restaurant celebrate boss's Highlands and Islands Tourism Award
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Graham Rooney, the owner of the Platform 1864 restaurant, was named tourism and hospitality hero at the annual event.
Speaking after receiving the award he said: "I am absolutely delighted to have won such a prestigious award.
"During lockdown, nobody was thinking about winning awards but it’s great to have been shown some recognition for how hard I, and everyone else, worked with the cards we were dealt."
He said there were a number of reasons which could have helped the restaurant stand out from the crowd and added: "I think lockdown and 'deliverooney' was a very pivotal time for me.
"I was working every day, meeting some truly amazing people. Sometimes I’d be the only person someone would see that week until I was back dropping off more dinners the following week.
"Post-lockdown, some of these people I met were never customers of the Platform and now they are.
"I think maybe the thing that makes my story stand out is that during a time where there wasn’t much room for community, I and the people I met managed to build one around the Platform which continues to this day."
The restaurant first opened its doors in 2015 following a huge restoration of Tain’s old railway station.
Mr Rooney said: "It’s a very special building and we wanted to keep a lot of the original features intact – the hardwood floors, the stone walls.
"There were many obstacles in getting the Platform open and sometimes I just wanted to give up but there was just something about the building that kept me going when the odds were against me.
"In the short time we’ve been open, we’ve won several awards including Tain’s Civic Trust Award and National Licensed Premises at the Scottish Business Awards and I couldn’t be more proud of what the team and I have achieved."
A total of 15 winners were announced at this year's Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness, with a number of businesses also being highly commended.
This year’s awards, sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland, attracted a record number of entries, delighting and impressing judges after such a challenging two years for the sector.
The evening was hosted by ‘Mr Loch Ness’ Willie Cameron and Nicola McAlley. Entertainment was provided by Kenny Smith and Michael MacMillan of Torridon band.