AN M&C employee who started working at the coffee shop as a Saturday girl is now celebrating 10 years with the company and is now the kitchen supervisor.

Eilish Cunningham began clearing tables in the award-winning coffee shop at just 14 years old, but now 10 years later, the former Forres Academy student is responsible for a small team and even took the lead in designing the coffee shop’s new look menu.

Eilish said she never set out to stay with M&C but is now a settled member of the team.

“I was 14 when I started and honestly, it was about getting some spending money. There was me and two friends who applied and that was that. Initially when you start as a Saturday person you are responsible for clearing the tables and gradually you are given more responsibility. I never ever thought I would eventually end up being the kitchen supervisor.”

Whilst working at M&C, Eilish began a course in Early Education & Childcare and at one point even handed in her notice.

“I handed in my notice as I wanted to concentrate on my course but people kept going on holiday, so I kept agreeing to cover the shifts and somehow I ended up staying. The childcare course wasn’t a natural fit for me and I was settled and happy at M&C.”

Eventually at just 22 years old, Eilish was given the opportunity to become the kitchen supervisor – becoming the youngest ever member of staff in that role.

“By that time,” explained Eilish who is now 24, “I had been on a number of food management courses which M&C encouraged me to do and I was ready for the challenge.”

Eilish is now responsible for all of the savoury options that are created at M&C. She and her team prep and make all the food, she manages the team and recently she designed the new menu.

“I like the menu planning and I watch a lot of cookery programmes for inspiration. I have been here that long now that I know what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes you just have to try something and see how the customers react.

“You have to more mindful now that ever of people’s dietary choice and I think we have a really good balance at M&C.”

Eilish says her colleagues are her work family and that apart from the positive feedback from the customers, that is her favourite part of her job.

“The whole team is great. Thirza, Peter, Heather, Ali are good bosses and they have just got us all through one of the toughest years that anyone has had to face.”

Looking to the future she added: “I am happy here. Peter has just invested in a whole new kitchen for us and that has been a welcome addition for us. It was great to so the training on that, although tricky as we were in lockdown so had to do it via video. That said, it was a good opportunity for us to learn on the new equipment with no customers here.”

Looking to the future she added: “I don’t know if I could do what Thirza does but I won’t rule anything out.”

Peter Wilson, owner of M&C said: “We are delighted to have Eilish with us for 10 years. She is a real credit. To have worked here as a Saturday girl and now to be responsible the kitchen shows her true grit and determination. She is a pleasure to work with.”