15th February 2024

Meet David Buchanan, Founder of  Secret Shebeen Club in Wick, a new business fostering culinary fusion and local collaboration.

The Secret Shebeen Club is a unique culinary destination nestled in the heart of Wick, making its new home in the iconic Backstairs, which was once painted by Lowry, in the town’s historic harbour. It offers exclusive pop-up supper clubs that combine global flavours and local collaboration for an immersive and authentic dining experience. David Buchanan, the visionary behind this new venture shares his insights into its inspiration, philosophy, and aspirations. David has a rich background, having grown up in Wick and he honed his culinary skills in kitchens across 75+ countries with a noteworthy career working for private clients, celebrities, and royal families, bringing a wealth of global experience to this exciting new venture.

David, captivated by the Blackstairs was inspired to create The Secret Shebeen Club concept, drawing from his vast experience and the pop-up restaurant trend in London. The goal of this Supper Club is to combine immersive lifestyle experiences and his philosophy of collaboration, providing an experience that goes beyond just dining.

Can you describe the concept behind your business and what vision you have for the new venture?

We have a grand vision for the Secret Shebeen Club. We plan to offer unique dining experiences and provide a platform for collaboration and community. Our goal is to bring our enthusiasm, knowledge, and expertise to create a space that goes beyond just dining.

Growing up close by in Pultneytown, I have many fond memories of Caithness, which is a magical place. We want to take the best of what is on our doorstep and connect our guests with local artisan producers, farmers, and other talented individuals. We want to help these producers get access to top clients who are interested in their products but can’t navigate local markets or Facebook pages. We aim to add a degree of confidence and instil faith in small producers on the global stage.

In the future, we plan to expand our operations to cover retail, guided tours, and sea excursions, and continue to collaborate with local producers on supper club events. We will offer cookery school classes such as breadmaking and chocolate masterclasses and team-building events. Following renovation works we will open up our accommodation in the spring and our yoga studio will be open by the start of 2025.

What is your brand philosophy?

At the core of the Secret Shebeen Club is a commitment to connecting guests with local artisans, farmers, and producers. The vision is to bridge the gap between quality producers and clients, creating a global platform for small-scale businesses. The Supper Club incorporates seasonality, local producers, and exclusive products, ensuring a constantly evolving and sustainable menu.  I have championed Mey Select for 20 years and truly believe in the small-scale farming philosophy as the antidote to large-scale agriculture where animals are bred for profit and not for quality.

We aspire to support local artists, musicians, and clubs, providing a platform for events and community. Collaboration is at the forefront of our vision, with a commitment to nurturing the next generation of talent across Caithness.

What is your signature cooking style, and what ingredients and flavours do you most like creating with?

I am passionate about sourcing the best quality and suitable ingredients from all over the world. In 2018, we established Vanillaism, which is the only rainforest-to-fork organic vanilla producer. Since then, we have been planting, growing, curing, and selling 100% organic vanilla beans in Bali and across Indonesia. We also provide practical, ethical, educational, and financial support to our farmers and their communities. We operate on a non-profit model and reinvest our profits to help empower communities to develop tourism and enterprise and work their way out of poverty.

As a vanilla grower, I use it a lot, but often in savoury cooking more so than in sweets. Vanilla has a complex series of volatiles, eugenols, and compounds that we are all familiar with, but Vanilla is the most intoxicating scent compound.

Caithness Chamber members can join David for an exclusive networking event on the 24th May, for booking and further information contact fiona@caithnesschamber.com

Find Secret Shebean Supperclub on Facebook.

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E: info@caithnesschamber.com
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