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Your local economy needs you

For my 6th birthday I was Doctor Carina. My nurses uniform and little doctors case, which was a tiny white tin with it’s tiny red cross made me feel like Florence Nightingale. The stethoscope, bandages and plasters were essential equipment for my playtime. At school I always had some reserves in my blazer; plasters and a magnifying glass always in my pocket. I was on call at all times to look after my patients. Once after my friend had got some dust in her eye, I took over (nothing new here) and stuck a plaster over her eye. When the teacher removed the plaster, Lucy only had one eyebrow left. Lucy I hope you’ve forgiven me and I hope it grew back in.

A doctor can open a restaurant today but a restaurateur can’t open a surgery. Medicine may be a bad example but for me it got me thinking.

The face of our beautiful city is changing dramatically. Architecturally, politically we don’t know our future and our food culture is in the middle of a wonderful revolution. Never has there been more choice, more creativity, more value and more commitment to sustainable choices and artisan production. We’re so proud to be part of a very dynamic food city.

This years List Eating & Drinking Guide, which we are delighted to be Hitlisted for Contini George Street and for The Scottish Cafe, lists over 400 new openings this year. Incredible. Many of these are small independent businesses run by individuals who love food, love looking after people and love our Scottish suppliers. Many of these independents aren’t trained chefs but are passionate about all of these values. It’s clear that we all love and are passionate about our Scottish suppliers too. You just have to see the level of support that the Errington’s have had over their recent court case to be reassured we have a healthy respect for artisan production.

A bio diverse food system is best for all of us. Given the volume of new restaurants opening the weighting of our purchasing as a city is changing. Most of the big boys are tied to central purchasing systems that don’t touch local suppliers of any type. Food or disposable. Up until now the independents have been holding this duty of care – but this is now shifting. The big boys may package up some fancy strap lines but they may not be connecting to our community at the level that’s really healthy for all of us.

I think it’s fantastic that our industry can nurture passionate individuals regardless of their previous profession to change their career and open wine bars, cheese shops, cake shops and do it so well as they love their product. Smith & Gertrude are a perfect example of ex film industry professional who love great wine. These people inevitably are connectors. They connect with local suppliers, local communities and will have a inherent drive to be sustainable and nurture the environment. Natural reinvestment in the local communities.

The vast majority of chain restaurants are amazing at marketing. They create a whole package with as many promises as the plastic surgeon while the independents are the equivalent of the homeopaths that do deliver the cure.

When the big boys are stripped back is the same as the restaurateur pretending to be the doctor – your bill of health for the environment and your support for the local communities that we so desperately depend on to create and hold our health can’t be guaranteed.

Thank you to you – all our dear customers who continue to support us and are making a choice to support yourlocal suppliers and their families.

With all my love

Carina Contini

Carina’s Full Article in the Scotsman May 2017