Scotland is a treasure trove of amazing produce of which we should all be immensely proud. The plates of food that leave my kitchen are only as good as the ingredients that come in fresh every day and that is why Scottish chefs spend so much time building close relationships with local suppliers and producers. For me, it is not difficult to see why so many are falling in love with Scottish produce. Scotland’s natural larder is a bit of a dream for us chefs and the produce which emerges from such a small island is really outstanding.
Last year, for Eat, Drink, Discover Scotland, I launched the search for Scotland’s best-kept secret ingredient to celebrate and recognise all of the hidden treasures. Scottish oats are the perfect example of an exceptional ingredient. Not only do they have wonderful nutritional value but they are of superior quality and are incredibly versatile. I use them in the savoury granola to accompany the rabbit ballotine starter at Restaurant Mark Greenaway. Having spent time working at the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel, I have seen first-hand the quality of produce which comes from the Scottish Borders. The oats used by Nairn’s in their oatcakes are a great example of local, regional ingredients from this area. It is wonderful to see a Scottish company, which exports worldwide, using local ingredients in their delicious oatcakes.
When it comes to using Scottish produce, there are so many options and I am proud to support local businesses when stocking my kitchens at Restaurant Mark Greenaway and Bistro Moderne. When people ask me why I always choose Scottish produce where possible, there are so many answers; first of all the produce is of an outstanding quality, then there is the sense of support and community feeling that goes alongside these choices, why not support producers from my home country? It means that I can have a direct relationship with my suppliers and producers as they are on my doorstep and supplies are not shipped across the world. As a chef it is so important for me to know the source of my ingredients and by using Scottish produce it means that I can fully interact with all of those who supply me with the food which will be served up in my kitchens.
As a nation, we should be so proud of the products which represent us. From Nairn’s Oatcakes to Scottish Rapeseed Oil, the rest of the world should look on in envy. As this is the year of food and drink in Scotland, it is time for us to celebrate and to truly get behind all that this beautiful land has to offer.
Rabbit Ballotine, Savoury Granola, Pomegranate, Wild Flowers, Hazelnut Milk
Mark Greenaway is the Chef Patron of Restaurant Mark Greenaway on North Castle Street, Edinburgh and Bistro Moderne in Stockbridge. Mark has created a range of delicious oatcake toppings for Nairn’s. Try them for yourself