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Scottish chefs set out vision to reform hospitality industry

More than 60 chefs and cooks from across Scotland have pledged their support to a new culinary manifesto, which aims to reform Scotland’s hospitality industry from within.

Developed by food charity Nourish Scotland in consultation with chefs throughout the country, The Manifesto of Chefs and Cooks sets out long-term aims to work for a fair, sustainable, and successful food sector in Scotland.

Officially launched on 13 March at ScotHot – Scotland’s largest trade event for the tourism, hospitality and catering sectors – The Manifesto of Chefs and Cooks aims to encourage food professionals to commit to making Scotland a good food nation.

Early supporters of The Manifesto of Chefs and Cooks include Scotland’s National Chef, Gary Maclean; chef and director of Café St Honoré, Neil Forbes; chef and broadcaster Sumayya Usmani; Sodexo Development Chef for Scotland, David Ward, Head Chef at Borthwick Castle, Derek Johnstone; and chef-activist Ffion Smith.

The first document of its kind to attract widespread industry support, The Manifesto of Chefs and Cooks sets out a vision for the future of Scottish produce. By launching the manifesto, Nourish Scotland aims to help make the Scottish hospitality industry a force for good in supporting local producers and offering exciting career opportunities, all while delivering top quality, internationally recognised food.

From how chefs run their kitchens and share knowledge, to how restaurants communicate with customers, source ingredients and manage their environmental footprint, sustainability and good business practice are at the heart of The Good Food Nation Manifesto.

Steve Brown, coordinator of the Scottish Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance and General Manager at the Edinburgh School of Food & Wine, has been a driving force behind the initiative and this week praised Nourish Scotland for opening up the conversation about the values and practices that prevail in the hospitality industry.

Steve said: “Having worked in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years, I have seen my share of poor behaviours and actions. I’m enthused to see a changing landscape; one of collaboration, creativity and camaraderie in many kitchens across the country.

“The Manifesto of Chefs and Cooks is crucial to encourage everyone to achieve, maintain and strengthen the values it contains, and to work together to ensure that the industry offers positive experiences for its members while supporting local business and protecting the environment around us.”

David Ward, Sodexo Development Chef for Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be involved with the Manifesto and look forward to collaborating with the movement to promote the Scottish food industry. The Manifesto objectives have direct synergies with Sodexo’s own sustainability efforts, from product provenance, promotion of local suppliers, minimising the impact of our industry on the environment, and ensuring we are an inclusive and diverse industry which will attract tomorrow’s talent.”

Derek Johnstone, Head Chef at Borthwick Castle, said: “This is a really positive step in the right direction for the whole hospitality industry, all across Scotland. The Manifesto of Chefs and Cooks ties in perfectly with our ethos at Borthwick Castle – from managing our environmental footprint, to working with local suppliers. I’m delighted to pledge my support.”

Celia Nyssens, Policy Officer at Nourish Scotland, said: “Chefs and cooks can be powerful advocates for Scotland’s Good Food Nation ambition, because they influence what we eat and how we think and talk about food. We’re delighted to launch The Manifesto of Chefs and Cooks at ScotHot, and we hope that this will mark the beginning of an exciting new era for Scottish food.”

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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