Shirley Spear leads hunt for Scots’ Treasured Tastes

Shirley Spear in her The Three Chimneys Restaurant on Skye. Picture: Neil Hanna
Shirley Spear in her The Three Chimneys Restaurant on Skye. Picture: Neil Hanna
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SCOTTISH chef and food enthusiast Shirley Spear has joined VisitScotland to launch a nationwide appeal to find Scotland’s most treasured tastes.

Whether it’s a plate of Granny Mary’s mince and tatties, devoured after a game of hide-and-seek in her Glasgow tenement, or a comforting bowl of Uncle Jim’s Scotch broth following a bracing walk along the Fife coast, the national tourism organisation wants to highlight the places and people behind the country’s favourite family meals and recipes handed down through the generations.

As a lasting legacy of the Year of Food and Drink 2015, a special number of the delicious memories will be compiled into a unique one-off recipe book entitled: You’ll have had yer tea? Treasured Tastes of Scotland. The book, to be published later this year, will take readers on a culinary journey from the shores of Shetland all the way down to the rolling hills of the Scottish Borders.

As well as showcasing traditional food and drink, the book will help shine a light on the personal stories behind family recipes, inspiring readers to revive some great home cooking as well as encouraging them to come and sample Scotland’s wonderful natural larder.

The nationwide appeal was officially launched at the Taste Our Best accredited Willow Tearooms in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street today by Shirley Spear, owner of the renowned restaurant, The Three Chimneys in Skye, and Chair of the Scottish Food Commission alongside Chief Executive of VisitScotland, Malcolm Roughead.

Shirley said: “It’s such a pleasure to be involved in this delightful project. I’ve long been an ambassador of family cooking. Some of my most cherished memories are of spending time with my Mum, baking jam tarts and fairy cakes, followed years later with teaching my own children how to cook simple, basic things at home and making the most of seasonal ingredients such as gooseberries and rhubarb from the garden and turning them into delicious treats. And now I hope to pass on stories about where our all our delicious ingredients come from to my gorgeous grandchildren.

“We all have these food memories that instantly transport us back to a precious time in our lives. ‘Treasured Tastes of Scotland’ will provide a voice for these recipes and the stories behind them from all over the country so that people both now and in the future are inspired to visit Scotland and sample its amazing local produce. I‘m very much looking forward to reading the entries and hope that as many people as possible will take part in this nationwide search.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Everyone has a delicious unforgettable meal they remember and invariably it is as a result of the food, company and setting. My personal favourite is my mum’s stovies, made with fresh lamb from Stirling market. I can still remember the smell of it bubbling away on the stove in our kitchen in Stenhousemuir. It instantly takes me back to Saturday dinner in the Winter after we’d spent the afternoon watching the football.

Recipes must be submitted along with a treasured story about the location or circumstances behind the meal. Entries can be sent either online on the dedicated webpage or by post.

All entries will be placed in a prize draw to win a one-night B&B stay for two at the Three Chimneys and The House Over-By in Skye. This unique prize includes dinner at the Kitchen Table at the award-winning restaurant – a not-to-be-missed experience which sees diners become immersed in the whole tableau of the kitchen, watching the chefs at work during a busy night’s service.

Entries can be submitted until the 3 July 2015. Full terms and conditions are available on the VisitScotland website.

For more information or to submit your Treasured Taste, please visit: visitscotland.org/Treasured-Taste.aspx