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Renowned French chefs visit Scotland

05/06/2023

SCOTLAND’S food and drink industry will be showcased to high-profile French chefs to raise awareness of the country’s world-class produce in a visit that begins today.

Six French chefs, some of whom to have gained a prestigious Michelin star, will participate in a jam-packed schedule that will see them visit producers across Scotland’s geographically diverse communities over the next four days. 

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The trip has been organised by Scottish Development International (SDI), Scotland’s global trade and investment agency and the international division of Scottish Enterprise, and supported by the Scottish Government’s office in Paris and organisations across the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership.

Distinctively Scottish produce in fields such as meat, seafood, spirits, dairy, red fruits and other ingredients including seaweed have been cherry-picked to highlight the provenance and quality of the country’s food and drink sector.

Engagements will include a tour of the distillery at Macallan Estate in Aberlour, a factfinding mission at Ballandalloch Aberdeen Angus Farm in Banffshire, a site tour of salmon producer Bakkafrost’s base in Ardoyne in Argyll and Bute and a trip to Fife where the chefs will forage for seaweed with the company, East Neuk Seaweed.

Harriet Bernot, SDI Food & Drink Specialist based in France, said: “This inward trade visit is a wonderful opportunity to further enhance the already strong reputation Scotland’s food and drink produce has here in France.

“Each of the attendees on this trip are influential in the French culinary sector and have enjoyed stellar careers.  This visit will not only raise the visibility of Scottish produce in the French foodservice sector, but also potentially deliver new export and sales opportunities in France for producers in Scotland.

“At a time when French consumers are increasingly interested in how their food is produced, this trip will allow the chefs to see first-hand the commitment our producers have to sustainability and why Scotland’s produce is rightly renowned for its quality and provenance.”

Also participating on the visit will be Laetitia Conseil, Head of Gastronomy at METRO, a leading supplier of independent catering in France. 

METRO has almost 100 wholesale stores across France, serving more than 400,000 customers such as restauranteurs and independent traders, and it is hoped the inward mission will significantly increase the number of Scottish suppliers listed with the culinary organisation.

The visit, which will also see the group meet a host of high-profile chefs and Food & Drink ambassadors based in Scotland such as chef Gary Maclean (winner of Masterchef: The Professionals), has been cross-sector in its approach, involving Scotland Food and Drink, Quality Meat Scotland and Seafood from Scotland, as well as the many companies hosting engagements over the next few days.

Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food from Scotland Food & Drink, said “Inward trade events such as these can be one of the most effective ways to build cross-border connections.

“The events organised throughout the week shine a light on multiple region’s most loved produce, our innovative and sustainable approaches and the world-leading quality of Scotland’s food and drink.  Few countries have the natural larder that Scotland offers, and with a quarter of attendees at this year’s Scotland Food & Drink Industry Conference looking to expand into international markets, we must make sure we are helping them capitalise on the opportunities available.”

Sarah Millar, CEO of Quality Meat Scotland, said: “We are looking forward to hosting the six French chefs during their visit to Scotland and showcasing what it means to be certified as ‘Scotch’.

 “Much like French consumers, Scots are increasingly interested in where their food is coming from and how it makes the journey from farm to fork. Our red meat suppliers are dynamic, forward-thinking and passionate about producing sustainable, farm assured red meat – a high-standard of care that translates to the dinner plate.”

Donna Fordyce, CEO of Seafood Scotland, added: “France is the number one export market for quality Scottish seafood. 

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase some of the best fish and shellfish in the world to an influential group of chefs who will spread the word on their return to France, generating further interest and trading opportunities for our sector.”

Scottish products are already revered in France.  Scottish salmon was the first fish and first non-French product to be awarded the prestigious Label Rouge quality mark, while langoustines caught off the coast of Scotland are exported daily to France.

France is also Scotland’s top international export destination country outside of the United States, with an estimated £2.9bn of exports in 2019.

Food and drink remains one of the largest and most important industry sectors in Scotland, with global exports of Scottish food and drink valued at £8bn in 2022. 

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