Food and Drink July 15, 2011
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Tony Borthwick - the wonders of Scotland

Edinburgh is a great place to be a restaurateur right now. For a few years it’s been gathering pace as one of the fastest-growing destinations in Britain, in terms of popularity, for food lovers. We are particularly spoiled in Edinburgh for good restaurants. When I moved the Plumed Horse to Leith four years ago, there were two Michelin-starred restaurants in the whole of Edinburgh; now there are five, with many very good establishments opening (as well as some closing) all the time. We are truly treated with dining choice.

There’s a good reason why chefs love working in this area. We are so lucky to have such a wonderful larder on our doorstep wherever we are in Britain, but Scotland and the northern half of our island particularly spark my passion when it comes to ingredients. Without the availability of these ingredients, chefs are just trapped in a whirlpool of frustration – we need the wonderful produce to inspire us. The seasons, now as they always have, dictate what we use and when we use it on our menus. The rivers and the sea around us, the farmlands and the hills and woodlands give us what we need to succeed in our quest to produce inspired dishes.

Local markets – not only in the smaller market towns, but in our cities too – are attended by farmers and artisan producers, allowing us all easier access to their superb produce. Their keenness to do well is uplifting, as is their love of their own goods. When a lady providing small, tasty leaves offers a delivery service, taking sometimes only £10 per delivery from a restaurant, it is clear she wants her produce to be enjoyed at its very best.

Lots of shops, as well as restaurant suppliers, are now taking up the challenge of offering their customers a better-quality product, rather than finding the cheapest or most profi table, because they know people will always buy quality. It really does cheer my soul to see a queue out of the door of a good fish or cheese shop on a Saturday morning. In these economically challenging times, it speaks volumes that folk still want quality and are prepared to pay a fair price for it. I hope you enjoy discovering some dining excellence and value with the help of this handy guide.


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