SRA celebrates sustainable Scottish food revolution at The Scottish Cafe
31 October 2014
We we’re absolutely thrilled to host the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Supplier Showcase event this Tuesday! Thank you to the SRA for the wonderful article about the event below. We look forward to welcoming The SRA back to Scotland soon.
It’s been a momentous year for Scotland.
It’s played host to two huge sporting events, the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup and voted to stay as part of the United Kingdom. Scotland has also continued to be fertile ground for the SRA. The food and drink industry north of the border is on a high and we recognised that at the start of the year at the Sustainable Restaurant Awards, inviting three chefs; Neil Forbes of Café St Honore, Carina Contini of The Scottish Café & Restaurant and Calum Richardson of The Bay Fish and Chips to cook for our 150 guests.
With the continued expansion of our Scottish membership (including two of our newest university recruits, Glasgow and Edinburgh), recognition of the boom in the industry and as a token of thanks for those chefs’ generosity back in February, we hosted a party at The Scottish Café on Tuesday night. Ingredients for Success was a celebration of all that’s good in the food business in Scotland, but also a reminder that sustainability must play a full part in this renaissance of Scottish food. It was an opportunity for restaurants, Members and non-Members to meet and share their knowledge. For producers there was an opportunity to show off their wares in a Supplier Showcase. IQ Chocolate, Ochil Foods, Phantassie vegetables, Innis & Gunn the brewers, Cuddybridge Apple Juice, Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes, Summer Harvest Oils, Isle of Skye Sea Salt and Diageo provided a wonderful ‘marketplace’ of produce.
At the heart of the evening were four speakers, all with a different perspective on the industry but a shared agenda. Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food and Drink, Carina Contini of The Scottish Café and Guy Grieve who runs Ethical Shellfish Company, all pushed the same theme – Scotland is undergoing a food revolution but it must not be at an environmental cost no one can afford.
Mr Lochhead praised the industry for engaging the public by telling them the story of the fabulous food Scotland is producing. He said: ‘Demand for local food has increased dramatically and it is so important to look at the whole story from farmers and fishermen to the table.’ But, he added, while the sector contributed hugely to the country’s economy it also had to consider its impact on the environment and said sustainability had a big part to play in the future of the industry. ‘Resources are under threat and we must be aware of that when producing our fantastic food.’
James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food and Drink, said that food was now a huge contributor to tourism but stressed that we have to avoid it coming at a price. ‘Food is about people, produce and place and the more people who take home the message of sustainability, the better. Can Scotland lead on sustainability? Yes! And we need to get it into every single business in Scotland.’
Guy Grieve who supplies restaurant with hand dived scallops from around the Isle of Mull, issued a rallying cry to save what he called Scotland’s garden – the sea surrounding the country – which, he said, is in grave danger from unsustainable fishing methods. ‘We have a great garden around Scotland which we need to respect – we need to pick the apples without trampling on the flowers. Let us set an example for the world by protecting our garden.’
The point of view of the restaurateur was provided by Carina Contini of The Scottish Cafe and Restaurant. She said that as a Member of the SRA she was delighted to be a part of the same ‘cool’ club as the likes of Michelin starred Andrew Fairlie and Calum Richardson ofThe Bay Fish and Chips. Carina added that the SRA had helped her business find the great ‘uncut diamonds’ that Scottish producers had to offer.
Finally, a huge thank you to the drinks sponsors; Speyside Glenlivet, Liberty Winesand Cuddybridge Apple Juice and of course our hosts The Scottish Café and Restaurant for their outstanding hospitality and delicious food – grouse, mutton, risotto and chocolate pots. It was terrific to be able to gather together so many people at the heart of Scotland’s food revolution and look forward to the country’s Year of Food and Drink in 2015 with huge optimism.