Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight 2018

Whilst Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight, 1st – 16th September, may have been and gone, it is far from forgotten, and we are still celebrating its success of reaching more than 2.6 million people across social media.

As the annual celebration of Scottish produce and the people who buy, cook, serve, sell and enjoy it, the Fortnight is central to our industry’s Ambition 2030 and drive to secure our future as a country with a thriving food and drink sector worth £30bn by 2030.

A key part of this vision is to make working in the food and drink industry a career of choice, which will help to fill the 27,000 jobs that will be needed by 2022. To that end and, coupled with 2018 being the Year of Young People, our campaign firmly focused on putting the spotlight on the shining young stars of the industry today to encourage and motivate others to look at the opportunities with fresh eyes, and the vast range of possibilities that exist, for people of all ages.

Our amazing group of more than 18 ambassadors, who fronted the campaign, showed the glorious diversity of the sector and just what can be achieved with passion, drive and determination.

From professional, international badminton-player turned coffee retailer, Patrick McHugh, Power Press coffee, to grower and producer of chilli and tomato products, using renewable energy, Ellie Sinclair, VegCo to chocolatier Finlay Macdonald and amazing young chefs, Rory Campbell, Campbell’s and Fraser Cameron, Michelin-starred 21212, their love of the sector, entrepreneurial spirit, enthusiasm and wisdom were an inspiration to us all through the stories they shared during the two week celebration, which you can read here

Using the hashtag #ScotFoodGoals, we also cast our net wide to encourage participation from retailers, caterers, restaurateurs, chefs, schools & colleges, events, food enthusiasts and many more, to get behind the Fortnight and share their ambitions for the sector and shout about the part they play in the industry’s continued success. Once again, they did us proud, from Brakes and Bidvest to Lidl, Aldi and Waitrose shouting from the rooftops about Scottish produce and young people, to a wealth of chefs sharing their sourcing and cooking tips, from Graeme Pallister, 63 Tay Street; Roy Brett, The Fishmarket; Giovanna Eusebi, Eusebi Deli and Neil Forbes, Café St Honore; our partner organisations such as Seafood Scotland and Quality Meat Scotland and events ranging from the second edition of Stranraer Oyster Festival to Best of the West and Newmilns Food Festival (not least their triumphant Victoria Sponge competition!)

In recognition of their brilliant engagement, we awarded first prize in the business category to The Rookery, Carnoustie and runner-up to The Gin Co-operative and, in the young people category, first prize to Borders College and second to Cumnock Academy.

As a legacy of the campaign, and inspired by the ambassadors themselves, we’ll soon be publishing some top tips to pursuing a career in the sector, so watch this space.

We’ll also continue to share stories from our young people throughout the year – so if you, or anyone you know, have any up your sleeve then please let us know via – we would love to hear from you.

Meanwhile, watch this space for news of Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight 2019, which will run from Saturday 7th – Sunday 22nd September inclusive. See you then!

Monika Soczynska

Age – 23

At only 18 years old Monika flew over to Scotland for a work experience placement in Dundee. The placement was expected to last only a few weeks, but this has turned into a promising career for Monika and five years on, she has worked her way up Quality Systems Assistant for Highland Game.

“I didn’t plan to work in the food and drink industry long term but within a few days of starting my placement I realised that this was an amazing opportunity to start my career. When I started off, I was carrying out some basic quality checks – recording temperatures, filing and record checking – but very quickly I was able to take on more responsibility. I became Quality Controller for the factory and recently I was promoted to my current position working with the technical and operations managers.”

As well as Monika’s day-to-day job of assisting with all aspects of quality assurance, she also supports Highland Game events and product presentations where the team talk about their locally sourced products.

“Every day is full of new challenges and the possibility of continued development at Highland Game. When I started at the age of 18 and didn’t have a lot of experience but the team here have supported me and have helped me continue to grow and learn. This is one of the main things I love about the Scottish food and drink industry – people are willing to share their knowledge and experience.”

“The food and drink industry is getting bigger and better and it’s going to need a lot more people to support the growth. It’s important that young people bring new ideas and new ways to improve the industry.”

For Monika’s #ScotFoodGoals, she hopes that the Scottish food and drink industry will continue their work in promoting safe, healthy and high-quality Scottish products to support the growth in the sector and will continue their support of local products and local suppliers.

Monika’s confident that her career will continue within the industry and for her #ScotFoodGoals she hopes to continue to gain more experience in quality assurance and continue learning about the technical and operations side of food production in the hopes that she will be able to move into a managerial role in the near future.




Sinéad Fortune

Age: 31

Sinéad Fortune is the founding director of Urban Catch Aquaponics, a Glasgow based social venture which looks at sustainable food production and alternative urban growing methods.

“At the moment we’re doing a lot of R&D into producing hyper-local, sustainable and zero-waste nutritious foods for an urban market. Right now, this means growing microgreens in the heart of Glasgow using vertical hydroponics methods. This would let chefs, restaurants, and foodies get the freshest possible products delivered within hours of harvesting and grown in one of the most sustainable ways possible with no pesticides, herbicides or petroleum-based fertilisers and minimal food miles.”

With a background in community engagement, Sinéad is particularly interested in how food and drink plays such a vital part in bringing people together.

“I’m fascinated by the power food has physically, emotionally and culturally to connect people. If you want people to come together, you provide food. If you’re working with community groups, food is almost always at the centre of what you do.”

Working as part of the industry, Sinéad has been able to meet the passionate people who would at every stage in the supply chain.

“I love the regional pride that various areas have for their local products, and the breadth of products Scotland is famous for from seafood to dairy to fresh fruit and veg and, of course, whisky.”

“Not to mention the restaurants; I live near Finnieston so I have some of the best places to eat in the UK on my doorstep. It’s a very exciting place to be if you love food! Scotland is also a land of innovation and there are amazing advances coming out of the bio-tech industry that parallel perfectly with Scottish food and drink.”

With all the changes going on in world politically and ecologically, Sinéad hopes that more young people will look to join the Scottish food and drink industry to help shape its future.

“What could be more important than food? It’s essential, it’s sociable, it’s creative and expressive, it’s nourishing, it’s political, it’s cultural, it’s a human right. Food is ingrained in every part of our society, and there are so many ways to get involved whether it’s growing it, making products, preparing and cooking it, or even on a political or policy level.”

“We’re at a very exciting time with food, but also a critical time. There are many issues to be worked out and a lot of challenges ahead, so we need bright, revolutionary people on board to challenge what’s happened in the past and push our food and drink industry to where it needs to be.”

For Sinéad’s #ScotFoodGoals, she hopes that the Scottish food and drink industry continues its work on becoming more sustainable, resilient, and fair.

“As we move deeper into challenging times environmentally, it is important that we build resilience into every industry and this is perhaps even more crucial in the food and drink industry. Everyone in Scotland depends on this industry in some way and sustainability and resilience needs to be built into every step.”

For Sinéad’s own #ScotFoodGoals, she hopes to continue her work with Urban Catch Aquaponics and hopes to play a part in introducing more sustainable urban food growing solutions through aquaponics, hydroponics, and vertical growing systems.

Printing Press Bar & Kitchen Competition

Missing #ScotFoodGoals already? For some post-Fortnight cheer, and to celebrate and promote the very best of Scotland’s in-season produce, the award-winning Printing Press Bar and Kitchen, George St, Edinburgh, is running an exclusive competition offering one lucky foodie the chance to win a special Scottish and seasonal lunch for two.

How to enter:
Instagram: @printbarkitchen

Facebook: @printbarkitchen

Twitter: @PrintBarKitchen @Eat_Scottish

Use the hashtag #ScotFoodGoals and tell us what your favourite Scottish produce is and don’t forget to tag The Printing Press Bar and Kitchen and Eat Scottish in your post to be in with a chance of winning.

Closing date for entries: midnight on Tuesday 25 September.

Pickled Herring Recipe by Graeme Pallister

During the 19th century herring sustained the Scottish fishing industry almost single handed and it could be justified in saying it developed some of those lovely coastal villages that we love to visit especially on the west coast.  Herring is right in season just now, at its best from the end of August through to October.  Its always best to follow the seasons when choosing what goes on our dinner plates not just because of its availability or its flavour but because it is at its cheapest and there are very few fish that are as good value as herring is.

This makes it the ideal fish for any home cook or a nutritional addition to a student’s budget.  With the new study year beginning you may find this a great addition for a cost saving, tasty and a great value meal to store for several weeks in your fridge, bought in a large quantity and brined very simply, this saves time and will be welcome boost for the brain!

Serve in many fashions, cold as a salad, warmed in an omelette or with boiled potatoes and mayonnaise, it makes a wonderful topping to a baked potato and use a little of the brine mixed with olive oil for tasty and healthy vinaigrette.

5 whole herring ask your monger to gut, scale and fillet
250ml white vinegar
100g white sugar
3 bay leaves, fresh or dried
1 teaspoon peppercorns
2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 shallot sliced
1 clove garlic sliced

Place all the ingredients in a pan, bring to the boil and immediately reduce to a slight simmer for 2 minutes.  Place the herring in a single layer in a tight fitting dish, once the brine is at room temperature pour over the herring making sure its fully submerged, store in the fridge for at least 24 hours before serving, it will keep refrigerated in the brine for a week, it can of course be removed from the brine and frozen, though the quality of its texture may lessen.

Ranchers’ Eggs recipe by Wendy Barrie

Ranchers’ Eggs

Easy one-pan-meal - tasty, economical and healthy. Shop at your local butcher or farmers’ market for good quality sausages – they will be tasty and use local meat. Don’t pay for excess packaging or extra rusk and fat for bulk. Sausages can be beef, pork, lamb or venison – take your pick!


6 farmhouse sausages
A drizzle of Scottish rapeseed oil
1 onion, peeled and thickly sliced
1 can of chopped tomatoes
2tblsps Arran Fine Foods Tomato Chutney
Freshly milled black pepper and salt
Chopped parsley
3 eggs


  • Drizzle a little oil in a non-stick frying pan and using kitchen scissors snip sausages into pan in bite-sized bits. Sizzle to brown.
  • When the sausages are evenly browned, add onions to pan and sauté.
  • Reduce to medium heat and add the tinned tomatoes along with the Tomato Chutney and seasoning and simmer gently for 5-8 minutes to cook through sausages and reduce sauce to a rich thick consistency.
  • When ready, create a gap in the thick sauce and drop in an egg. Repeat with other 2 eggs, evenly distanced in pan.
  • Reduce heat and leave until eggs cooked – the whites are opaque – about 5 minutes.
  • Finish with a twist of black pepper and a scatter of parsley and serve from pan.

Serves 3.

This can be a mild winter warmer or seriously hot and spicy. For a hotter version, use spicy sausages or a hotter chutney.

Wendy Barrie is a highly respected campaigner for local sustainable food, popular cookery show presenter and food writer. Founder & Director of award-winning & . Wendy is Leader in Scotland for Slow Food Ark of Taste & Slow Food Chef Alliance Member.

Photos © Wendy Barrie

Calum Johnston

Age: 24

24-year-old Calum Johnston is a Food and Drink Consultant with SAC Consulting and also works with Connect Local and the Farm Advisory Service to encourage entrepreneurialism within food and drink.

Speaking about his journey into the industry, Calum explains, “I have always had an interest in food production, having grown up on my family farm. At school, my best subject was Business Management and the opportunity to study Rural Business Management (Agri-Food) at SRUC meant I could combine my interest in agriculture, food and drink and business management.

“After graduating, I worked for two years as a junior buyer for a potato packer, buying potatoes for UK supermarket retailers before joining the SAC Consulting Food and Drink team in April 2018. I have a particular interest in the primary agriculture, added value food production and farm retail sector and I also support on-farm and rural business diversification, as I have experience of running a diversified farming enterprise near Perth.”

Outside of food and drink, Calum is a semi-professional musician and plays the fiddle for ceilidh bands across Scotland, supporting the development of music and culture across Scotland. He also represented Scotland at squash, internationally and at home, for six years and is now a qualified squash and fitness coach, working with a network of coaches, physios, and health professionals in Sport Scotland.

Coming from an agricultural farm-based background, Calum believes that because of the ageing population of farmers, land owners and rural business managers, young aspirational people will be able to drive the industry forward with new innovative ideas and processes.

“There are loads of opportunities for young people in the food and drink sector and a huge potential to make your mark, pursue something you are passionate about, or indeed explore something new and exciting. There is never a dull moment in the food and drink scene!”

Calum’s #ScotFoodGoals is to see Scotland continue to be world renowned as being a fantastic natural larder with strong connections between food and drink, our landscape, heritage and tradition. He would like to see new innovative ideas, businesses and processes develop to promote Scotland’s food and drink at home and on a global stage.

From a personal point of view, Calum would love to combine his interest in music with food and drink to support and develop Food and Drink Music festivals in Scotland and overseas.

To find out more about the services Connect Local offer, visit


Food and drink award announces inspirational winner

Scotland’s newest food and drink industry award has today announced its winner, after a tough selection process.

Designed to recognise the incredible talent and dedication being shown by Scotland’s young people within the food and drink sector, the ‘NFU Mutual and Scotland Food & Drink Inspirational Young Person Award’ has, over recent weeks, selected the four most worthy entrants who are now being recognised for their dedication and contribution to the food and drink industry.

Having announced the second and third placed entries, in addition to a highly commended prize, earlier within Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight, the judges are now delighted to announce that Helen Stewart from Badvo Distillery in Pitlochry has been chosen as the overall winner.

At the age of just 18, Helen recognised that her family farm was in need of additional income in order to survive. With no money to invest, Helen obtained grants and worked seven days a week in order to develop a micro gin distillery.

Doing everything herself, from attended events to social media and distilling, Helen overcame a host of challenges and obstacles in order to build the distillery and was nicknamed the most successful 'non-distiller' as she was featured in magazines, books, and a documentary before she even launched!

Helen forages all of the botanicals she requires for the gin from the farm and now Badvo is growing its reputation among fans of Scottish gin.

Helen was presented with her certificate and £500 prize money at the Badvo Distillery by Kathryn Mutch, Marketing and Communications Manager at Scotland Food & Drink, Brian Lochhead, Sales Manager at NFU Mutual and Margaret Hebbourn, NFU Mutual Senior Agent for Perth.

Speaking of her win, Helen said:

“This is the perfect end to our first month of production”.

Martin Malone, Regional Manager Northern Ireland and Scotland with NFU Mutual, said:

“With this being the inaugural year of the award, I have been very impressed with the level of entries and am encouraged by the talent taking our food and drink sector forward. There are so many dedicated, hard-working and inspiring young people currently working in the food and drink industry and NFU Mutual is delighted to work closely with so many fantastic food and drink businesses across the sector.

“I congratulate Helen on both her win and her business achievements. She stood out by taking a vision for the existing business that needed to diversify into other revenue streams in an area where she had no knowledge, existing contacts and effectively build a brand, a product and premises to house the business. This included marketing heavily, product design, and distribution all from scratch and was a tremendous example of innovation, energy and tenacity”.
James Withers, Chief Executive at Scotland Food & Drink, said:

“Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight takes place this year as part of the Year of Young People celebrations. It is therefore particularly pertinent that we have announced the winner of this award during the Fortnight. I am always keen to highlight not only the enormous contribution that young people make to Scotland’s food and drink businesses, but also the importance of the sector to the wider economy. For that reason, I believe that Helen makes an incredibly worthy winner and I believe that it was her dedication and determination which won over the judges.”

Shannon Jess

Age: 24

Growing up around Speyside, Shannon has always been fascinated by the food and drink industry, particularly whisky. Now, with a master’s degree in International Business and Modern Languages, Shannon works as a project manager and marketing specialist for The Drink Cabinet UK, a creative agency specialising in the drinks industry and licensed trade.

After getting a taste of the industry during a work experience placement at high school, Shannon went on to intern at The Drink Cabinet while studying at university.

“With the company’s clear expertise in whisky, I knew it would be a great fit for some work experience while studying. I was immediately thrown into the planning of a whisky festival onboard Glasgow’s Tall Ship and that was it; I’ve been hooked by the industry ever since.”

While studying, The Drink Cabinet offered Shannon a part-time job and following graduation, Shannon was made a full-time member of the team.

“Every day is different at The Drink Cabinet. Day-to-day, my role can involve event management; social media management; strategy and brand development; research, analysis and reporting; account management; and working closely with my marketing, trade and design colleagues to offer a specialist one-stop-shop service for businesses in the industry.”

Shannon believes that Scottish food and drink industry offers endless career possibilities for all skillsets and backgrounds.

“Everyone in the industry has their own story about how they got here and that’s what makes the food and drink community diverse and interesting. Some of my marketing colleagues have come from fashion or English literature studies and their skills and experiences have brought completely fresh ideas and approaches to the way we do things and think about projects at The Drink Cabinet.

“I've also met people who have lost their jobs in oil and gas and have subsequently turned a passion for food or drink into a business. It’s great to hear when stories like this bring new employment opportunities into communities around Scotland, especially in those areas suffering most from the oil and gas downturn.”

Shannon’s #ScotFoodGoals are to help promote and support food and drink businesses around Scotland.

“For as long as I can remember, all I’ve ever seriously wanted to do is promote how brilliant Scotland is. Historically, we’re not good at self-praise but we NEED to shout louder about the great things happening in the Scottish food and drink sector.”

“It’s a tough industry - particularly for start-ups and smaller businesses – but as industry peers and consumers ourselves, we share the power of word of mouth. That’s a valuable tool for a business without money for costly marketing campaigns and expansive distribution.”

“If we support our Scottish food and drink producers and businesses, the greater growth they can achieve, the more jobs they can create and the more success they can achieve in an increasingly challenging and competitive environment. If everyone in Scotland took one small step towards taking more personal or professional responsibility for supporting Scottish food and drink, we’d be more than five million small steps closer to achieving the Ambition 2030 mission.”

Taste of East Lothian event puts spotlight on county’s food and drink excellence

A range of local food and drink producers took their goods to Westminster this week for a ‘Taste of East Lothian’ event hosted by Martin Whitfield MP during this year’s Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight.

Organised in partnership with East Lothian, Scotland’s Food & Drink County and East Lothian Council, the event gave politicians, staff and visitors the opportunity to sample some of East Lothian’s finest produce and find out more about the county’s food and drink excellence.

Around 50 MPs, including the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, and his Scottish Labour counterpart, Lesley Laird, attended the drop-in event. Well over one hundred researchers, other parliamentary staff and visitors also stopped by to enjoy the samples on offer.

The local producers represented at the event were Black & Gold, Chocolate Tree, Thistly Cross Cider, Eyeball Brewing, Hood’s Scottish Honey, Yester Farm Dairies, Brodies 1867, NB Distillery, Aelder Elixir, The Spice Witch, L&C Artisan and Belhaven Smokehouse.

Speaking after the event, Martin Whitfield MP said:

I was delighted to host the 'Taste of East Lothian' event and it was great to see such a big turnout from parliamentary colleagues. I have had some fantastic feedback, with everyone enjoying the samples of the wonderful local produce on offer and the opportunity to find out more about why East Lothian's food and drink is so special.

“I want to thank Gemma and her colleagues for making the day happen, all of the brilliant producers for coming down and promoting themselves and East Lothian in such a positive and compelling way, and everyone who attended for helping make the day such a great success.

“There is no doubt that the event has helped put East Lothian and its approach to food and drink on the map. I will continue to work with East Lothian Food and Drink and local producers to explore ways of spreading the word about what we have to offer here and championing East Lothian’s status as Scotland’s Food and Drink County.”

The producers from Scotland’s Food & Drink County were delighted to be invited to Westminster to showcase a group of their suppliers and promote the collaborative efforts of the businesses involved in hugely prestigious surroundings. The event also offered the group an amazing opportunity to invite some of their key southern buyers, contacts and potential buyers to meet with them in truly unique and influential surroundings.

Louise Elder, producer of Black & Gold Rapeseed Oil, from crops grown on her East Lothian farm, and who is former Chair of the Board of Scotland’s Food & Drink County, said:

“This was an exciting opportunity for us as a group. We are so proud of our food community here in East Lothian and we enjoyed meeting so many regional ambassadors from across the country.

Scotland’s Food & Drink County (SFDC) is the World’s 1st Food & Drink Business Improvement Development (BID) and we hope some of the ambassadors present may encourage other areas to be inspired by our work and develop similar organisations in their area.

By working together, we create a collective identity, a more vibrant economy and a sustainable future for our businesses as a whole.”

To find out more about Scotland’s Food & Drink County, East Lothian, click on