Café Medine owner wins High Street Heroes Award for donating profits towards fixing St Leonard's Church roof in Forres
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A TURKISH woman who settled in the area 11 years ago has won a High Street Heroes Award for her contribution to the local community.
Forres mum, Medine Duff (52), who ran a popular weekly pop-up café at St Leonard’s Church Hall before the coronavirus lockdown, was recognised by the Scotland Loves Local Campaign – managed by Scotland’s Towns Partnership – for donating all of the profits she made on Thursday, February 27 to the host venue’s leaky roof appeal.
She said: “Being recognised by the campaign was a very big surprise. It is a big honour for me! Thank you to whoever nominated me and everyone else who supported me.”
Medine initially sold vegan- vegetarian Mediterranean-style deli food at farmers’ markets in the area, as well as at summer Highland games and Christmas events. She also catered for parties and meetings. Following positive feedback from her customers, and with their support, she started the café in St Leonard’s Church Hall every Thursday from 12-2pm.
“The customers were not only from Forres,” she said. “They came from as far away as Huntly too. I served 60-70 people at each two-hour session with my husband Eddie and friend Wendy Robertson. The café wasn’t luxurious, but it had a healthy menu and a friendly, warm atmosphere. The customers loved sharing tables and chatting with each other.”
A taste of the Mediterranean at Café Medine on February 27, attracted 110 people in just over two hours, despite wintry conditions outside, raising £650 towards repairing the church roof.
Medine believes she was nominated for this effort because when the lockdown started she had to stop the pop-up café.
She said: “I hired the Hive kitchen at The Park, Findhorn in June and sold my food as takeaway three days a week. It wasn’t as busy as the café though. A lot of my customers told me they missed its atmosphere. They had called Thursday lunch times ‘Cafe Medine day’!”
Medine, who was a journalist in Turkey, is currently a full-time student studying a National Certificate in Social Science at Inverness College.
She said: “I made my food like I was cooking for my family and the customers recognised that. They were always with me. I would like to do the pop-up café again one day a week when we are back to normal again because I miss them.
“When this outbreak ends, we will celebrate this award together.”