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Article published 03/04/2024

Calum Montgomery discovered his love for cooking and hospitality early in his working life. His passion was to cook exceptional food using the finest produce Skye has to offer.

Read on to find out how he transformed the island’s oldest operational hostelry into a high-profile multi-award winning business.


Skye is home for Calum Montgomery. It’s where he was born and grew up.

His career in hospitality began working as a kitchen assistant in a restaurant in Portree. Initially, he found the job to earn some pocket money, but, demonstrating an early aptitude, he was promoted to assist with food preparation.

Soon after, he decided he enjoyed it so much that he changed track, leaving a business studies course to cook full time. In 2016, he became the youngest in Scotland at the time to hold three AA Rosettes at Ullinish Lodge Hotel and then became Head Chef at Kinloch Lodge in 2017.

Dark chocolate with seabuckthorn in a round dishCredit: Edinbane Lodge

How he got started

“I wanted to create a true, genuine experience, showcasing the absolute best of what we have on Skye.”

In 2017, Calum decided to go into business with his father, who had recently sold his cleaning business and was able to invest in a new venture.

They took on The Lodge at Edinbane, which dates back to 1543 and needed complete renovation from its derelict state, to create four bedrooms and a fine dining restaurant.

They used local trades people to undertake the work and engaged an interior designer to help reflect Skye and the family’s connection to it in the interiors.

Opening in 2018, Edinbane Lodge was entirely focused on offering guests a true taste of Skye, from the food to the furnishings and the warm hospitality.


As Chef Patron, Calum wanted the food at Edinbane Lodge to focus on using Skye’s natural ingredients and to celebrate the people who work hard to make these special, native ingredients available.

Working with friends, family and contacts on the island, Calum sourced seafood, meat, fruit, vegetables and foraged ingredients for his menus.

He is committed to sourcing as many ingredients from the island as possible with complete traceability, communicating this to customers on the menus and in customer interactions.

Calum acknowledges the growth in food tourism from visitors looking to experience Scotland’s remarkable natural larder.

An authentic taste experience has now become an important component for visitors, who are looking to understand how we use our native ingredients, as well as enjoying our stunning scenery when they visit.

How the business started to grow

"We want to be the absolute best restaurant we can be every single day."

As a relatively new business in a rural location, Edinbane Lodge has kept its operation nimble, allowing them to adapt to customer demand.

Having quickly won a number of awards, Edinbane Lodge has cemented its position as a key dining destination on Skye. It’s the only business in the Highlands to hold four AA Rosettes.

Their rural location means that tourism is absolutely vital to the business as they tend not to attract much passing trade.

The business is open to anyone and everyone, but May to September is very much their busiest time of year with visitors coming to Skye.

Key decisions that led to growth

  • Business from local residents

    Business from local residents is steadier in the winter when their peak season eases off. The business is well supported by local visitors, who mostly visit for special occasion dining.

    Initially, Calum changed the menu on a weekly basis to offer something new for repeat customers, but now finds a signature menu made up of standout dishes, changing less regularly works well.

  • Marketing overseas

    They have had a 94% overall increase in bookings since 2021. Around 40% of business is from UK visitors.

    International visitors tend to come during the peak season and will often plan their itineraries before they travel, with around 40% of overseas visitors coming from the US. In 2024, they have bookings from new markets: the UAE, Canada, and Switzerland.

    Calum uses a PR company to handle marketing to overseas visitors, which has yielded results and a very full calendar in 2023 for both the restaurant and rooms. Engaging in PR is a big commitment, but Calum recommends this approach.

  • Finding balance

    The business closes on quieter days of the week to give staff time off, where they found visitors wanted to be out enjoying the scenery. Two dinner sittings helping them to balance service levels with overheads.

Developing the customer experience

Food is an essential part of the experience at Edinbane Lodge, but Calum is keen to ensure each visit encapsulates the very best the island has to offer.

Every touchpoint is carefully considered to tell a story, from the ingredients to the tableware and the surroundings.

There is a clear commitment to provenance and craft. He builds a sustainable supply of ingredients in a way that benefits suppliers and the island’s natural resources whilst giving a true taste of Skye.

These details are communicated in the menus, but also through the staff. Calum is keen that his team share his vision and communicate as much as possible with the guests.

Engaging staff in the sourcing and preparation of ingredients equips them to tell the story of every component of the guest experience and keeps them engaged and motivated.

A fine dining dish from Edinbane LodgeCredit: Edinbane Lodge

What has been the key to their success?

"Award success has helped us cement our place as an essential place to visit on Skye for a food experience."

Accolades have been important in Edinbane’s development. In the last year, Calum and the business have won over 10 awards. This year, advance bookings are three times higher compared to last year. Major television appearances have significantly helped to raise the business profile.

Calum advises others to believe in themselves. He recommends focusing on what you do best, analysing each element of every service and pivoting when needed.

What's next?

A 66-foot polytunnel to become self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables. They have created two new riverside bedrooms and two new jobs.

Visit the Edinbane Lodge website

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