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Hebridean Fine Food & Drink Festival break attendance record

Gary Maclean - Scotland's National Chef, Lach Maclean - Harbour Kitchen Stornoway, Chris Loye - Flavour, Allan Macritchie - The Niseach Chef, Alex Reid - Harbour Kitchen Stornoway

“We are overwhelmed by the huge success, it has worked out even better than we expected,” enthused Nicola Loye. She and her husband Chris, who has been appointed one of Scotland’s Region Food Tourism Ambassador for the Outer Hebrides by Scotland Food and Drink, organise the Hebridean Fine Food & Drink Festival in Harris. The now 9th Gourmet event took place in Tarbert on 29 April.

Local food & drink producers present showed their goods and let the many visitors sample the culinary diversity of the Hebrides: A great way to talk directly with the producers.
The fantastic line‐up of multi-award-winning chefs attracted the curious, hungry, and amateur cooks to the Tarbert Community Centre.

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Scotland’s first national chef Gary Maclean opened the show with his recipe of salmon with a curried mussel and crab broth from his cookbook.

Chris Loye presented a starter dish of Hand Dive Scallop and Creel caught Langoustine with locally foraged ingredients. This dish won best starter in the Scottish Culinary Championships in March 2023.

Lach Maclean, patron of the Harbour Kitchen in Stornoway, demonstrated his dressed crab salad with avocado, apple, and citrus mayonnaise dish currently on his restaurant menu. He was assisted by emerging talent Alex Reid, who came third in the Scottish Young Chef of the Year awards.

The Niseach chef Allan Macritchie, who hails from Ness, followed a modern take on a classic Hebridean dish Ceann Cropaig a ‘stuffed fish head’ taco which was presented on pebbles from Port Beach.

Chef Gary Maclean, also a Master Chef UK winner, ended the live demonstration with Salmon nori seaweed, watermelon, sesame oil, black sesame, sticky rice & coriander. His seminal statement, “next time we need a bigger hall”.

A film crew from Bakkafrost accompanied the culinary day and one can be curious about where the moving pictures will be seen.

What started as a very small festival in 2017 and it’s now become an unmissable event in Harris. But the couple is hungry for more. “The Hebridean larder is so rich that we will continue to grow, and who knows, the next event may even be held in Stornoway” says Chris with a mischievous smile.

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