The Salonniere is a panel discussion of professionals connected to the hospitality and design industries, hosted and delivered by the award-winning Hickory.

Thursday 1st September
Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh

The Salonnière

Dating back to the 17th century, Salons were private conversational gatherings that brought people together over food and art. A Salonnière was the inspiring, powerful host of the night, known for being a social expert, well-informed and keeping ahead of the newest trends.

Hickory’s first Salonnaire was by invitation only evening and featured a presentation and a discussion of inspiring creative professionals connected to the hospitality and design industries. The idea was to share experience, knowledge and grow new ideas to benefit the industry and connect the people who work in it.  

The Salonnière took a digital-led approach, with online invitations sent to guests in advance featuring menu selections and panel information, QR codes for check-in and digital seating plans on the night.

The Inaugural Salonniere

Key representatives from Scotland’s architecture, design and hotel sectors gathered at one of the country’s landmark arts institutions this month for the first in a series of stimulating discussion dinner events looking at trends in the hospitality industry. 

The inaugural evening was staged in the design led environment of Dovecot Studios and saw guests enjoy a Champagne and Canape reception before hearing from some of Scotland’s most prestigious brands who have collaborated on interior design.

The Inaugural Salonniere Panel

Celia Joicey – Director, Dovecot Studios
Celia Joicey is Director of Dovecot Studios. She is a historian and author who has previously worked as Head of the Fashion and Textile Museum, Head of Publications at the National Portrait Gallery and Editor of the RSA Journal at the Royal Society of Arts.

John Glen – MD, Bute Fabrics
John Glen has worked in the textiles industry for over 25 years, taking up the Managing Director position at Bute Fabrics 7 years ago. Passionate about textiles designed and woven in Scotland, Bute’s business is built on the artisan skills and dedication of the team. 

Lauren Hughes-Glass – Associate, ICA
With over 15-year’s experience, Lauren leads design teams at Ica, combining collaborative creativity with methodology on large-scale, complex projects, working alongside some of the world’s leading brands, including the delivery of the first Virgin Hotel outside the US.

Emma Jackson – Regional Director of Sales, Virgin Hotels
Emma Jackson is Regional Director of Sales for the newly opened Virgin Hotels in Edinburgh and the upcoming property in Glasgow. With over 15 years’ experience in the hotel industry Emma has held positions with IHG, Radisson Hotel Group, Malmaison and other independent operators.

The well-received and thought-provoking event explored how hotels were moving towards giving tourists and visitors a ‘luxurious home-from-home feel’ through fabrics and design and how accentuating a hospitality venue’s heritage and story was also seen as a key driver for design decisions, alongside ‘thinking local’ to ensure projects were sympathetic and understanding of the local area.


Guests were invited for a three-course meal on Dovecot Studio’s Viewing Balcony, with a pre-dinner exploration of the menu from Hickory’s Food & Drink Development Executive Katy Tan.


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Haggis bonbon with Glenkinchie whisky crème fraiche

Isle of Bute oyster gin cured smoked salmon and pickled cucumber crostini

Isle of Bute oak smoked cheddar and truffle doughnuts with wild cepe dust (v)

Rainbow radishes, Mara seaweed mayo & lemon salt (vg, ngci)



Ritchies of Rothesay’s smoked salmon, fennel seed oaties, dill jellies and a citrus and radish crème fraiche

Marinated heirloom tomatoes, charred ‘halloumi’, smoked bean hummus and olive soil (vg, ngci)


Scotch beef two ways; Chargrilled fillet and braised ox cheek, buttered roast beetroot, mustard mash, red wine jus

Twice baked leek and Mull cheddar souffle, medley of young vegetables, pea shoots and pine nuts (v)


Dark chocolate tart, Isle of Bute coffee infused ice cream, chocolate rubble and heather honey syrup (v)

Griddled marinated nectarines, basil and balsamic, pumpkin crumble and iced berry cream (vg, ngci)

Following dinner, one lucky guest won the evening’s raffle prize – a stay for two at the new Edinburgh Virgin Hotel with breakfast and dinner.

After-Dinner Drinks and Chat

Guests were invited to extend their evening by joining Hickory in the Dovecot Studio Café, which had been turned into a cocktail bar, where our accomplished team created amazing cocktails using Edinburgh Gin, and our guests loved meeting Natasha Corfield from the distillery.

Cocktail Menu


Edinburgh Gin Classic, Pannier Champagne, Fresh Lemon


Edinburgh Gin Classic, Edinburgh Gin Rhubarb & Ginger Liqueur, Via Vai Prosecco, Fresh Raspberries


Smokedhead Islay Single Malt Whisky, Bitters, Orange


Edinburgh Gin Bramble & Honey Gin, Campari & Soda

Guests enjoyed making new connections over a cocktail, learning more about the capital’s gin and having a dance at our silent disco.

Guests were gifted a Salonnaire take home, which included many goodies, and was packaged to keep the champagne and salmon chilled.

Five-star Feedback

Dovecot and Hickory have received lovely feedback on how well the venue looked and worked, and how as a team, Dovecot and Hickory worked so well, here are some soundbites from the feedback.

“The format was really interesting and I enjoyed hearing all about the design side of things too.”

“I had a great time and the food was delicious as always – I’ll be dreaming of the chocolate tarte!!”

“A fun evening with great food and company. Really a very nice treat.”

“I have already passed on your name to somebody looking to do and event in Edinburgh next year.”

“It was lovely to make so many connections and showcase Dovecot beautifully.”

And resoundingly, the Salonnaire did its job, as many met new people, met new business prospects and kept the debate on good design alive – John from Bute Fabrics, has extended an open invitation for guests to visit Bute Fabrics if on the island, and Dovecot and Hickory would love to hear from you on any future events which you are considering.

Salonnieres of the Future

Hickory’s second salonnaire is being staged in February 2023, and is under development, with a hot topic being discussed and a superb line up of speakers. 

Each event will feature a presentation and a discussion of inspiring creative professionals connected to the hospitality and design industries in esteemed venues across Scotland.

We hope to see you there!

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