Jakub Eunson

Age: 20

For 20-year-old Jakob Eunson, farming is in his blood. Working as a two-man team with his dad on the family farm, Jakob is involved in various aspects of farm life but the role he relishes the most is that of the butcher where he does everything from processing the meat, and delivering to key businesses, to managing the invoices and developing new business opportunities.

“It’s a pretty demanding and busy role, but I love it. There’s always a job to be done. We currently supply meat to a number of local shops and restaurants, plus a hotel and café so I’m regularly on the road.”

After leaving school at 16, Jakob went to work for a local butcher where he gained his apprenticeship. He then decided to head to college where he studies agriculture and was awarded Apprentice of the Year for Scotland in March 2018 from Lantra. As a direct result of this, Jakob has been recognised by Royal Highland Show as an industry champion in agriculture.

For Jakob, it’s the satisfaction of having happy customers which really make his job worthwhile.

“Customers are looking a better product than what’s just on offer in the supermarkets and want to support local producers like myself. It really makes my day when someone says to me that they ate my meat recently and it was spectacular.”

Encouraging more young people into the industry is something which Jakob is incredibly passionate about, especially in a trade where they can learn important skills from their elders. However, he feels that there are some great opportunities for young people to lead on.

“Young people can really make a lasting impression in the industry. It’s important to get involved at a young age and learn from your elders but young people can really get involved in all the foodie trends that are happening like food provenance. There will always be food, and always new ideas to be had.”

Looking to the future, Jakob is keen to grow the business to a point where less meat is imported from the likes of New Zealand.

“By maximising the amazing food we have here in Scotland, we can continue to support local businesses. While we supply lamb to towns in mainland Scotland, we have so many beef customers here in Shetland we haven’t had the need to expand any further. However, this is something I am excited about developing in the future.”

Jakob’s #ScotFoodGoals are to continue working with his dad to grow the family business and to ensure it lasts for generations to come.

Chris Wright

Age: 28

Nowadays, traditional butcher shops are not as common on the high street as they used to be, but this is something 28-year-old Chris Wright from Lerwick is passionate about keeping alive.

As a butcher at Anderson Butchers in Lerwick in Shetland, Chris is normally the first face customers see when they walk into the shop.

After suffering from depression as a teenager, Chris joined Anderson’s as an apprentice when he was 25 - something which was, he believes, a real saving grace.

“Butchery was something just fell into but taking on this challenge was a major part of my recovery and it was something I had to really focus on.

“I managed to finish my apprenticeship in two and a half years - gaining my Diploma in Butchery. This was a real eye opener and really made me feel appreciated in the trade.”

While undertaking his apprenticeship, Chris was named Apprentice of the Year 2015 in the Scottish Meat Training Awards.

“I’m really lucky to be working in an industry I absolutely love. The passion in the trade is unbelievable and it’s completely infectious. I keep meeting people that just have so much drive and creativity, and no matter how deep I delve into the foodie community, it still surprises me.

“It’s this passion that makes me want to push myself harder and work at a higher level.”

Happiest when chatting to customers and giving them tips on making sure they make the best of their chosen cuts of meats, Chris will be responsible for organising the Anderson Butchers stall at the Taste of Shetland Food Fair in October after cooking live on stage at last year’s event.

In addition to working in the shop day-to-day, Chris is always looking for new and eye-catching ways of attracting customers to come along the shop - mostly using his impressive social media skills. He has created his own Instagram page, @reelmaetshetland, which has 550 followers, as well as launching his own cooking blog, www.reelmaetshetland.com.

“I think in some cases people are perhaps a bit scared to go into a butchers as they don't know how to cook the meat we sell. It’s important for me to provide advice and help so the photos I take for my Instagram page and blog are of the produce we sell and the dishes I create.”

Chris has put his innovative mind to work by creating a range of Lean Meat packs and value-added products which are very popular with customers.

Having had a range of jobs in the past, Chris truly believes he has found his niche.

“Butchery was a real shift in my direction for me, but very welcomed at the time. I wish I had got into the industry a lot earlier, though, because I love what I do so much now - I have never had such a passion for a job before.

“For me, it’s the diversity we have in the food and drink industry in Scotland which keeps me really excited and passionate. There are so many producers of so many different beautiful products. I also love the fact that there are so many hidden gems of produce all over Scotland – such as The Cake Fridge here in Shetland, literally on the roadside!”


With 2018 the Year of Young People, Chris believes it’s more important than ever for more young people to think about a career in the food and drink industry.

“I think it’s really important to get more young people interested in the food industry for many reasons. For one, today’s young people really are the future and will take over from us one day. They will be able to have a totally different take and mindset on the industry once they learn the trades and make it their own.

“I also believe there is a total disregard of where food comes from now and having younger people involved will help drive the education that is so sorely needed in some places.”

Chris’ #ScotFoodGoals are really to help promote Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight, allowing all food and drink producers to shout about their products and making sure they are all heard as equals. Chris is working hard to make his sector of the food industry more transparent for customers so they actually see a group of hard working, innovative, intelligent people working to make amazing produce for the whole world to try and adore.

“As for my own personal career aspirations, I want to enter competitions in the UK and try and take it further into the World Stage. I want to showcase Shetland and Scotland if possible. I also want to run my own business at some point – making my own produce and making my own mark on the industry.”



Lauren Leisk

Age: 23

Like millions of other people in the UK, Lauren Leisk has suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) from a young age and struggled to manage her symptoms. After graduating from Queen Margaret University in 2016 with a First Class BA (Hons) Business Management, she began to research ways to manage her condition by making changes to her diet. After coming across the low FODMAP diet, which eliminates gluten, dairy, garlic, and onion from your diet, and giving it a go, Lauren found that her symptoms improved significantly.

“As I’ve got older, I’ve always found there to be a real lack of fresh products available on the current ‘free-from’ food market to cater for special dietary requirements. So, after seeing how these minor changes to my diet could improve the way I feel, I started thinking that this could be a viable business opportunity.”

By utilising a keen interest in entrepreneurship coupled with first-hand experience as a consumer in the market, Lauren launched Fodilicious in 2017 – a sustainable food business and disruptive innovator providing the UK’s first gluten free and dairy free freshly prepared meal options which follow the low FODMAP diet.

“Fodilicious offers people premium fresh convenience food products using quality, locally-sourced Scottish produce to help those with special dietary requirements to live a better quality of life.”

Passionate about driving awareness of IBS and the benefits of the low FODMAP diet, Lauren has created a commercially viable business where she and her team create bespoke meal plans and dishes delivered across the UK. Meals are designed specifically for people who are gluten free, dairy free, vegan and vegetarian and are packaged in environmentally friendly, biodegradable and recyclable containers.

“Having lived with a food intolerance for most of my life, I wanted to create a business which would be able to alleviate symptoms for other people and help them live a better quality of life.”

As a young entrepreneur in the Scottish food and drink industry, Lauren is passionate about promoting the amazing produce the country has to offer and sharing this with her customers.

“We have fantastic, world-class produce to showcase around the world and that is why I have joined this industry. There is such a culture of collaboration and support within the sector and it’s so enjoyable to be a part of this.”

With this year’s Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight focusing on the amazing ways in which young people are contributing to the industry, Lauren truly believes that she and her peers have an important role to play in helping the sector to grow and flourish.

“There is a phenomenal amount of young talented individuals within Scotland’s food and drink and these people are the future of the industry. Not only will they help by contributing the most innovative, sustainable ideas with a great deal of inspiration and ambition, they can also add value and make a positive impact to the Scottish economy.”

Lauren’s #ScotFoodGoals are to successfully make a difference in the UK free-from food market by raising awareness of IBS and food intolerances, and to provide delicious fresh food products catering for special dietary requirements whilst showcasing Scotland’s natural and premium larder.

Alasdair Graham

Age: 23

From a young age Alasdair Graham knew he wanted a career in the food and drink industry.

After completing the Aquaculture and Fisheries management course at the Barony college in 2011, Alasdair joined Barony Country Foods where he has been living and breathing traditional Scottish produce ever since.

In his varied role at Barony Country Foods, Alasdair can be doing everything from butchering local wild venison and game, to filleting and preparing different species of fish.

“A large proportion of our business comes from the hotel and restaurant trade so preparing and delivering orders is key. We have our smokehouse in Lochmaben where we cure, smoke and slice our produce from local game and poultry to our award winning cold and hot smoked salmon.

Alasdair joined the family business full time after finishing college but had been working there since his secondary school days. In 2016, he became a director of the company under the tutelage of his father Ronnie.

“Becoming a director of the business has really helped me develop my financial skills and business acumen. It’s really exciting to be working alongside my dad to expand all aspects of our business including our range of products, customer relations and retail avenues.”

Having always had an interest in aquaculture and fish processing, Alasdair did some work experience on a salmon cage site in Ardrishaig and worked part time on a fish farm at Carse of Ae.

“It was great to gain experience of another food-related industry, especially one which is so linked to what we do here at Barony Country. A large amount of our fish comes from this part of the industry so it was a good stepping stone to the position I am in now.”

Working with fish and game is something Alasdair enjoys most about his job.

“I do the curing, smoking and roasting of these products myself and I have inherited and developed these skills from my father over the years. The slicing of the cold smoked salmon and rainbow trout is carried out by two ladies that work with us part time, this is a fine art which they have mastered over many years.”

The passion Alasdair has for his business and the wider food and drink industry is clear to see and, in his opinion, Scotland’s food and drink industry is like no other.

“We have so many natural resources along with our produce that are unique to this country, from our salmon and fish, to our fruit and vegetables and of course our fine whisky and gins.

“There is no better time to show off what we have to offer here in Scotland and protect the Scottish brand. So many of us are involved in and around the food and drink sector in one way or another so it’s up to us as the producers and retailers to showcase our fine contributions to the global market.

“The Scottish food and drink sector is growing and evolving year on year at the same time as a great deal of alternative industries are on the decline and so is an even more vital element to Scotland`s economy.

“There are so many opportunities for young people to get involved in the food and drink sector, from fishing and farming to retail and food preparation. I believe it’s essential for young people to get involved and work in the food and drink sector. It’s thriving in so many different ways and it’s a really exciting time to be part of what Scotland has to offer - which is far more diverse and unique than ever before.”

Alasdair’s #ScotFoodGoals are focused on the future of Scotland’s food and drink. He wants to see even more growth and even more interesting contributions to the industry – especially gin distilleries and the Scottish seafood industry. His own personal goal is to harness his passion and grow Barony Country Foods to adapt to the ever-changing market for smoked produce whilst staying true to its roots. He is also very motivated to develop the online and mail order services of the business as another avenue that he and his father can grow and hopefully succeed in.

Fraser Cameron

Age: 21

With a passion for cooking since the tender age of three, Fraser Cameron has always known he was destined for a career in food and drink. Now at 21, he is sous chef at the Michelin-starred Restaurant 21212 by Paul Kitching in Edinburgh. Not bad for a lad from Galloway!

21212 has become a star attraction of the Edinburgh food scene since opening it’s doors almost ten years ago and has received numerous awards since opening, including best new restaurant in the UK and a Michelin star.

“From a young age I have pushed myself to achieve my goals. I have worked in kitchens since the age of 14 started as a kitchen porter in a local pub in Galloway where I grew up. After a week’s work experience I knew retail wasn’t for me so I concentrated on getting into cooking.”

It’s his love of food and the camaraderie of a working kitchen which cemented Fraser’s career aspirations and now he gets to cook with some of Scotland’s best produce on a daily basis.

“Working in such an environment as 21212 has been has been a fantastic opportunity to be creative and dynamic, travel the world, make friends for life and push myself further than I ever thought was possible.”

It’s these opportunities which Fraser believes offers young people need to take full advantage of to get involved in the food and drink industry and help it grow.

“Throughout my journey so far I have been able to taste and cook with some amazing ingredients and produce. Scotland really does have the most fantastic produce and the quality is second to none. It’s an honour to be able to cook with it.”

Fraser’s #ScotFoodGoals are to see more Scottish restaurants receive a second Michelin star with even the hope of seeing an establishment awarded three stars – this would be a country first! Personally, Fraser wants to one day open and run his own restaurant using the best Scottish produce and winning some prestigious industry awards.

Watch Fraser's #ScotFoodGoals video

Robyn Wilson

Age: 16

At just 16 years old, Robyn Wilson is clear about what direction she wants her career to go in and that’s delivering fantastic service.

Currently studying for an HND in Hospitality Management at Forth Valley Collee in Stirling, Robyn has developed skills and experience to help her deliver a truly five-star dining experience.

“During my first year of studying at college I spent two days a week in the college’s fine-dining Gallery restaurant as part of the front of house team. I was only 15 at the time but I had previously done a bit of work experience in a local hotel run by a family friend.

“Since then I got a seasonal job in a local restaurant and am working in a nearby hotel where I learn the business side of the hospitality industry.”

Despite only being 16, Robyn knowns a career in the food and drink and hospitality industry is for her.

“I’m a real people person and there is no better industry to build new relationships. I have met new people and had different experiences every day. I love the hospitality industry and can definitely see myself working in the industry in the future.”

With Scotland’s food and drink industry being so diverse, it’s important for young people to explore the different opportunities out there – especially in the hospitality industry.

“I think it is important for young people to get involved, because the industry is full of opportunities and various different jobs. Once you have the skills you are able to travel and work anywhere in the world and I find this really exciting. As a young person in the industry I’m very exciting about my future.”

Robyn’s #ScotFoodGoals are to continue studying to complete her HND in Hospitality Management, developing the necessary skills and experience to one day be manager of a small hotel of her own, and to continue being inspired by the people in the industry who can help her learn about Scotland’s unique food and drink offering.

Watch Robyn's #ScotFoodGoals video

Finlay MacDonald

Age: 19

At the tender age of jut 19, Finlay Macdonald has already added company founder and director to his CV.

Since he was 18 months old, Finlay has loved food which he says comes from his grannies.

“I would bake scones with one granny every Sunday and pies or dumplings with the other. The, whenever we visited my great aunt in Kyle of Lochalsh we would make cakes. I was always in the kitchen and I grew up with a powerful desire to do something with food and a career in the industry was an obvious choice.”

With his first experience of the industry working in a small restaurant in Kyle producing a wide range of dishes out of this tiny kitchen, Finlay had the chance to do a whole variety of different jobs.

“I was just me and one other person in the restaurant, so I prepared all the dishes, including puddings, seafood, side dishes.”

Innovative and entrepreneurial from an early age, Finlay has always had a keen grasp of commercial acumen and started his first business aged just eleven.

“At one time I was in a phase of making bread and at the time was low on cash, so I decided to start selling the bread round my new high school. I quickly established a weekly subscription service among the teachers.

“A few years later, after working in a pastry kitchen, I was inspired by one of the chefs to begin experimenting with chocolate. After some brief training I used the money earned from this bread business to start up a new one selling handmade chocolates in the local area.”

In 2017 Finlay managed to secure crowdfunding to allow him to expand his facility and increase production capacity and, excitingly, employ some young people to help.

“Despite being founder and director, my role in the company covers just about everything, from production and flavour development to bookkeeping and sales. From packaging design to delivery man.”

For Finlay, his love of food has always been there and for him it was an obvious choice to make and sell the products he loved himself.

“We are so lucky in Scotland to really be spoiled for choice in terms of the variety and products available to us.

“I believe the food and drink industry is here to stay and that means it’s even more of a reliable career choice for young people to take advantage of. It’s a hugely exciting industry to be a part of and it’s really satisfying to give people enjoyment from the product you have worked hard to produce.

“However, as big and diverse as the industry is, we all share a communal goal of supporting and promoting Scotland’s produce.”

Finlay’s #ScotFoodGoals are to continue growing his business so he can employ more local young people and do more to promote small Scottish producers. Finlay believes the industry should continue focusing on the export market and maintaining the high reputation our export products have. Food tourism is also something Finlay is keen on exploring. However, no matter what direction life takes Finlay, he will always be driven by his life-long love of food and the strong bond he has with it thanks to his grannies.

Watch Finlay's #ScotFoodGoals video


Ilona Mclaren

Age: 26

Ilona is part of a large family working in the Scottish food and drink industry, from aunties producing delicious ice cream and award winning cheese, to her dad and brother who run the family farm in Crieff, food and drink has always been a big part of Ilona’s life.

Following a number of years in the hospitality industry, Ilona joined Scotland Food & Drink as Events Manager, where she is responsible for organising and managing events across the country, from their annual conference, and showcase events to the annual Food & Drink Excellence Awards.

“Before working at Scotland Food & Drink I worked for one of Scotland’s top catering companies which exposed me to the extensive array that Scotland’s natural larder has to offer. This, combined with growing up surrounded by food production on the farm, meant it was a natural step to pursue a career in the sector”

“It was the vibrancy and potential of the industry that initially attracted me, as well as the fact that I had background experience, and wanted to build on that to help push the industry forward in my own little way.”

For Ilona, getting young people more involved or choosing a career in the food and drink industry is one of the most important ways to help it continue to grow and to safeguard it for future generations.

“Young people are the future of the industry and we need them to ensure it continues to grow, not just here at home but internationally. Getting young people involved from as early as possible will help make this possible.”

“I have been lucky to meet so many interesting and inspiring people from various parts of the food and drink industry and it never ceases to amaze me how passionate everyone is and their drive to tell the world about how amazing Scottish produce is.”

Ilona’s #ScotFoodGoals are to convert as many people as possible to good quality, local, Scottish produce and, through her job, take this message out to as many people as she can!

Watch Ilona's #ScotFoodGoals video

Jordan Gardiner

Age: 17

For 17-year-old Jordan, cooking has quickly become his passion. After an opportunity came up to join a Skills for Work programme in Hospitality at Forth Valley College, Jordan decided to pursue this further with a one-tear NC Hospitality course in food and drink service.

“This course has given me the chance to learn about food preparation and the kitchen environment and after completing the NC course I quickly realised that cooking is my passion.”

Working in the food and drink industry is something Jordan wanted to do since he was a student a Falkirk High School.

“My first step was doing Home Economics from first year until I left in fourth year where I was able to get experience of preparing different meals and different courses.

“As a result of doing this course I have learned a variety of skills, from making and serving drinks for customers, taking food orders, preparing bills and cooking meals. I enjoy working with customers and providing a good service is always important to me.”

The college’s stunning Gallery Restaurant not only offers diners stunning views but highly valuable teaching and experience for students as a fully operational teaching kitchen and dining area.

Guests are offered both lunch and dinner services with delicious dishes 100 per cent designed and prepared by students on site. For Jordan, this experience has given him the skills and confidence to look to plan an exciting future for himself.

“My goal is to become a chef and the experience and skills I have now been able to get give me the opportunity to travel and work in any part of the world. This, for me, is very exciting. I want to continue developing my knowledge and experience of cooking and experience different cultures and places.”

Ultimately, it’s becoming a professional chef in Scotland that Jordan is passionate about.

Jordan’s #ScotFoodGoals are to achieve his dream of becoming a professional chef and continue learning and cooking with the unique and delicious food and drink our country offers.

Watch Jordan's #ScotFoodGoals video

Jennifer MacDonald

Age: 31

For Jennifer Macdonald, running her own farm and growing her own crops has been a long-held dream and since launching her own community interest company (CIC) in 2016 called Woodside Arran, she has not looked back.

As a nutritionist and herbalist with a background in horticulture, Jennifer knows a thing or two about ensuring a healthy diet. Alongside husband Andy, Jennifer runs Woodside where they she grows and sources the best quality fruit, vegetables, meat and eggs for sale on the Island.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have the best choice of healthy, affordable organic produce on Arran so after moving here in 2015, it became clear that there was a real gap in the market for this kind of service on the island.

“I have a background in horticulture and a long term dream to create a permaculture farm, it was just a dream come true when we got Woodside off the ground. I am able to combine my love of cooking with growing my food.”

It’s the diversity and innovation within the Scottish food and drink industry which really drives Jennifer to think outside the box when it comes to her offering.

“It used to be that food and drink in Scotland was quite traditional. However, we are now seeing so many wonderful different cultures and people who live here alongside some of the very interesting new ideas coming out of organic and regenerative agriculture. It’s very exciting.”

For Jennifer, it’s more important than ever to get more young people into the food and drink industry.

“For too long Scotland has had the image and reputation for being extremely unhealthy. Now while I would never expect us to give up on our sweet treats, I think the more people who get involved in food and drink in Scotland, the more diverse and healthy an industry it will become. I believe this is the case not only for the people working within the industry but the consumers and economy also.”

Jennifer’s belief of encouraging a healthier industry and way of life goes hand in hand with her belief that there needs to be a real reduction in the average age of those involved in agriculture.

“Many individuals in the current farming generation are trying to retire and there are very few people in the ranks to take over from them.  I think this offers a real opportunity for many young people, perhaps with no experience or family history of farming to get involved in small scale agriculture.”

Jennifer’s #ScotFoodGoals are to diversify her business into other areas including opening a small scale poultry slaughter facility and to offer more hands-on training for others looking to change their lifestyle or get involved in regenerative agriculture for this first time.

Watch Jennifer's #ScotFoodGoals video