French Master Chefs arrive for Scottish culinary experience

The Master Chefs with Scottish food and drink industry representatives
The Master Chefs with Scottish food and drink industry representatives

Twenty-three of the top chefs in France have arrived in Scotland to sample the best food and drink that the country has to offer.

During the trip, the Master Chefs of France (Maîtres Cuisiniers de France) will visit the Scottish Salmon Company farm at Loch Fyne and Loch Fyne Smokery with a dinner organised by Seafood Scotland at Cameron House Hotel following in the evening.

The chefs will also be hosted by Quality Meat Scotland on a farm visit to Shantron Farm in Luss. They will then go on to visit Glengoyne whisky distillery where they will sample Scotland’s most famous tipple as well as other produce such as cheese and oatcakes.

Their visit will culminate in a Gala dinner, hosted by Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs.

The event is a key element of the Scotland Food & Drink Export Plan – designed to significantly increase exports across a wider range of markets and products. It has been organised by Scottish Development International, Scotland Food & Drink and key trade associations and will demonstrate the quality and variety of food and drink Scotland has to offer. The partners hope it will encourage French chefs to source more from Scotland and inspire even more producers to export to France and beyond

Latest figures show that the total value of Scottish food and drink exports to France was £722 million, representing a 56 per cent increase since 2007. This makes France Scotland’s second largest food and drink export market in the world, behind only the United States, and it is our top market for food products.

Culture and External Affairs Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, said:

“We’ve seen the value of Scottish food and drinks exports to France increase significantly in recent years, underlining the growing importance our friends across The Channel place on sourcing authentic produce from Scotland’s rich and natural larder. This is a real compliment from the nation widely recognised as the world’s culinary epicentre.

“The EU provides significant support to Scottish rural communities and is a key market for the food and drink we produce. I recently met the French Minister for European Affairs who made it clear the French Government was committed to developing the strong Franco-Scottish cultural, economic, and educational links.

“Scottish produce has previously been chosen as the main ingredients in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or, often referred to as the culinary equivalent to the Olympics, and Scottish salmon was the first fish and non-French produce to be awarded the Label Rouge mark of quality.

“I look forward to sharing our land of food and drink with the Master Chefs of France in their first overseas visit: it truly is a great opportunity to showcase our many fantastic food and drink producers to some of the best chefs in the world.”

Susan Beattie, Head of Food & Drink at Scottish Development International, said:

“We are delighted to welcome these prestigious chefs to Scotland and are proud to introduce them to the very best of Scotland’s food and drink. The appetite for our products in France has grown in recent years and this trend looks set to continue.

“We hope the visit to Scotland inspires the Master Chefs of France to use even more of our extensive larder of natural products and become ambassadors for our high quality food and drink offer. It offers a fantastic opportunity for Scottish companies interested in doing more in this key market – and we can offer an extensive programme of support through SDI and our Scotland Food & Drink partners.”

James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said:

“The Master Chefs’ visit is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate why Scotland is a Land of Food and Drink. France is our top European food and drink export market and is identified as one of the priority prospects for further growth. France is already the destination for Label Rouge Scottish salmon, seafood, red meat and cheese but there is scope to build the range and volume of products further.

“France is home to some of the world’s most famous chefs and we believe we have one of the finest natural larders on earth. So we’re the perfect culinary match! Scotland and France have a relationship and friendship which stretches back over 700 years and I hope this marks a further step forward for the ‘Auld Alliance’.”