Dear friends, fellow foodies and all those in hospitality business, an extended and diverse family indeed. Words cannot express the situation that most of us are in right now – at least not repeatable words! And whilst we are naturally worried for friends and family, personal health and harsh economics, we are also overwhelmed by the magnitude and global reality of our situation that came like a curved ball out of nowhere. … well somewhere….something for continued investigation.
Meanwhile some of you have had closures forced upon you, others are soldiering on, offering takeaways and even free soups to elderly locals, delivering and networking locally. Much modification to enterprises is going on daily and my heart goes out to you brave wonderful stoic friends. The music across the balconies of Italy is truly uplifting and such pockets of raw emotion and the strength of humanity help offset the low-lifes stealing toilet rolls from restaurants that are just trying to survive!!
Some islands are in lockdown, Westminster’s in a state of flux and insurers are not forthcoming if social media is anything to go by. Nothing is fair in all this and we need to survive and emerge out the other side. Eleanor Roosevelt once said ‘women are like teabags, put them in hot water and they get stronger.’ Incidentally, when spellchecking her name I came across this wry one from 1870 in Dublin’s Shamrock newspaper, ‘men are like potatoes – they do not know how soon they may be in hot water!’ But please don’t take that to heart boys! Whatever the quote we are certainly all being tested to the limits and need to be there to support each other in what way we can.
Little did we know when we attended the UK Slow Food Congress in London in January that this was ahead of us but it was well worth the journey to see Elisa Demicellis and Paolo di Croce from SFHQ in action. London was never on Bosse’s bucket list so it took those two to get him down there! Our thanks to Shane Holland for organising the event. If ever there was a time for supporting local food producers, cooks and chefs it is now. Not only are they there in your community where you are safe from large crowds but many are offering to deliver and/or online. They need your business and will give you great service in these troubled times; they know your name and benefit your local economy – none of which a supermarket or a restaurant chain does. In this dark hour we as a nation have a chance to show our appreciation of our local indy businesses, family farms and restaurants keen to reach out to you….at a safe distance of course as advised.
January and February were busy at Scottish Food Guide, attending meetings for future events, all of which are now postponed or cancelled of course. The Royal Highland Show took the inevitable decision and to all the wonderful cooks and chefs who would have been participating in Scotland’s Larder Live Theatre, I thank you, I’m thinking of you and I look forward to happier times. A few events are relocating to the autumn but we shall have to wait until 2021 for the Royal Highland. A sad state of affairs for Scottish food tourism but what choices do we have?
Before the virus swept in Kathy Biss from West Highland Dairy spent a lovely couple of days here in Fife where we co-hosted our Cheese Champion Course that was well attended with a lively bunch and a good day was had by all. Bosse and I also enjoyed the Strathmore Tattie Day in Coupar Angus with Andrew Skea of Skea Organics, the potato guru if ever there was one! http://potatohouse.co.uk Cloncaird Castle hosted The Best of Ayrshire Event, opening its doors to the public for the first time, showcasing their gorgeous cottages for holiday letting complete with online shopping of local goodies for your stay including Ballochmyle https://scottishfoodguide.com/places/ballochmyle-fine-cheese/ and Dunlop Dairy http://www.dunlopdairy.co.uk so look out for more events here when normal life resumes and in the meantime their cottages are on their website http://www.cloncairdcastle.co.uk
Bosse and I are working at home for the time being and I miss you all so do keep in touch. We would love to hear from you – for a chat, a query, an update. Scottish Food Guide Members, if there is anything I can post to update your activities and promote you I shall be delighted to do so. We need to collaborate and look after each other. I can see much activity amongst the agonies of dealing with the present situation and one of your strengths is your flexibility and quick reactions to situations, something else chains and supermarkets cannot hope to achieve. Global food security is in meltdown and you have the answer with local produce and freshly cooked meals. Focussing on locals and their needs seems successful, collaborate and create bonds that will survive after this apocalypse and I am happy to post your delivery updates, takeaway menus and news. Whatever else, I wish you good health and if you feel isolated get in touch – let us stay connected.
Please note that the situation is so fluid always click through to Members’ websites or call them to check on latest updates.