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The source is important

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Good morning lovely people, 

I’ve been writing for The Scotsman for over 10 years. My last headshot was taken in 2019.  I had a panic attack when they requested a new image. I’m not fishing for compliments but the last few years have left me feeling slightly worn.  I used to question why women spent so much on makeup – I now know why – it costs a lot to fill in the cracks. Reluctantly I gave in and the fabulous Amber, who takes our photos, captured a moment in time. Did Amber use photoshop? She may have tweaked the lighting; I’d even go as far as to say she worked a miracle. I do know it’s not fake.

Are you as confused as me about the Mother’s Day photo of The Princess of Wales? We’ve got a team to help us – websites and social media are not my expertise. They have responsibilities and we trust them to do a great job. Were the press team at Kensington Place having a sickie? Maybe they were working from home that week? Adjusting lighting and adding a little colour is ok, we all want to look our best, but honesty is vital. Cracks in any image shouldn’t leave us with questions that shouldn’t need answering. 

Food raises the same questions. Restaurants are facing more financial pressure than ever. On the first of April the Living Wage will increase (something the whole industry supports), but the only way to adjust for these increasing prices is making compromises. Yet, some are openly making compromises and hiding these in plain sight, on the plate! We need to understand what price reflects, and on closer inspection it’s not good. 

Fake food has no place in our restaurants. On Wednesday we heard of yet another one of our small artisan butchers closing. The cost of doing business, simply too high for them to continue.  

We can buy processed fats at a quarter or the price of butter; we can buy oils that haven’t been near a tree, never mind an olive. We can buy Prosciutto that’s never visited Italy, never mind Emilia-Romagna. A clever chef can disguise poor quality with many flavours but the raw ingredients aren’t true, aren’t as healthy, and aren’t supporting a precious part of our food chain –  its heritage and the people that hold values dear. On a menu, like a digital photo, it’s easy to cover up the truth. If something has to be fake, what are they actually hiding? Provenance does cost more but only if you care about the bigger picture.   

We have just been awarded our new listing by Accademia Italiana della Cucina. The Italian Academy of Cuisine aims to protect the traditions of Italian cuisine both in Italy and abroad, and supports heritage and innovation. We are extremely proud to have this accreditation – the only restaurant in Scotland to have so. The badge of being Italian is important: protecting and valuing the authenticity of ingredients and cooking traditions is precious. There is no room for editing or photoshopping these values.  

At The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant we’ve just received our renewed ‘Taste Our Best Award’, part of Visit Scotland accreditation. Another badge of provenance. 

One of the new responsibilities that falls under Environmental Health is trading standards. If you say Scotch Beef you need to be able to back it up. If you say Prosciutto di Parma DOP you need to be able to back it up. The problem is you can say beef and you can say prosciutto with impunity. If you ever read Parmesan – run a mile. The cost price associated with fake food matches their values – they are cheap. It’s not just about price, source is about the truth.  

To hear a small family business say it’s not financially viable and they don’t know what the future holds for them – don’t leave it there  lovely people – please keep asking questions. Choices matter and good choices mean so much to so many. Ensuring you know your trusted source, for our food, and our media, should never leave us panicking. 

Thank you as always; your support for this independent family business is always valued. 

Keep well and be reassured no compromises here,


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