French chefs scout Scotland’s food and drink industry

Scotland’s food and drink industry is being showcased to high-profile French chefs this week to raise awareness of the country’s world-class produce.

Six French chefs, some of whom to have gained a Michelin star, will participate in a busy schedule that will see them visit top producers across Scotland.

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.

Many 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, taking an estimated £2.9 billion of Scots exports in 2019.

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

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.

The visit, which will also see the group meet a number of high-profile chefs and food & drink ambassadors based in Scotland such as Masterchef The Professionals winner Gary Maclean, 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.”

Quality Meat Scotland CEO Sarah Millar 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.”

Seafood Scotland CEO Donna Fordyce said: “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.”

Participants on this inward visit to Scotland are:

Emilien Rouable, owner of Restaurant L’Inattendu, Villecresnes
Eddy Creuzé, owner of Bistrot de la Grande Maison, Le Mée-sur-seine
David Rathgeber, owner of Restaurant L’Assiette
Grégory Cohen, Celebrity Chef
Pierre Lambert, owner of restaurants l’Audass’ and L’Expérience, both in the western Paris suburbs
Mickael Meziane, owner of restaurant La Passerelle, Issy-Les-Moulineaux
Laetitia Conseil, Head of Gastronomy at Metro

The chefs based in Scotland that the French chefs will meet are:

David Jamieson, Estate Head Chef at Archerfield hotel and restaurant, Scotland F&D Ambassador
Craig Wilson, “The Kilted Chef” Eat on the Green, Scotland F&D Ambassador
Fraser Cameron, Senior sous chef, The Globe Inn, Dumfries
Cliodhna Reid, Commis chef at Strathearn Restaurant, The Gleneagles Hotel
Simon Attridge, Executive Head Chef, The Gleneagles Hotel