Coinneach MacLeod: The Hebridean Baker sells out North America tour and cookbook becomes Canadian bestseller

He’s had a warm welcome

Published 20th Mar 2023
Updated 21 st Mar 2023

Now that The Hebridean Baker, aka Coinneach MacLeod, has paid them a pilgrimage, people across the Atlantic may soon be converted to his brand of Dundee muffins and whisky marmalade.

The Isle of Lewis-based baker has sold out of most dates on his North American book tour, which followed a US and Canada publishing deal for his second book, My Scottish Island Kitchen, with Sourcebooks. It was originally released in the UK back in October of last year with Black & White Publishing.

Along with his partner, Peter MacQueen - though not their sidekick, West Highland Terrier, Seoras, who is being looked after at home - they’ve visited Washington DC, Boston, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Denver and Chicago.

“It’s been a hectic few days, but so much fun,” says MacLeod.

There was also a trip to Toronto, which, on March 20, included a cooking demonstration and appearance on primetime Canadian TV show, The Social, where recent celebrity guests have included Lucy Liu.

The book tour has been accompanied by pipers, Highland dancers, and lashings of Isle of Harris Gin.

“I have loved our tour across North America. I’ve been so proud to share the recipes, culture, history and stories of the Outer Hebrides and Scotland, and delighted they have resonated with so many folk across the Atlantic”, says MacLeod, who has been patriotically sporting a Fair Isle sweater and Harris Mist tartan kilt from MacGregor & MacDuff in Glasgow.

According to MacLeod, who originally found fame through TikTok, where he now has 251.7k followers and 3.3 million likes, he’s been Scotland’s best-selling cookbook author over the last two years. That’s been since his first book, The Hebridean Baker: Recipes and Wee Stories from an Island Kitchen, was originally released in the UK back in 2021. It was also launched in the US last year.

In the first week of My Scottish Island Kitchen’s release in Canada, it hit the Globe & Mail food book bestseller list, which is the equivalent of the New York Times bestseller list. It’s currently at number eight, alongside other reads including Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by US chef and television host, Samin Nosrat, and One by Jamie Oliver.

The book and tour has been hugely popular with the Scottish diaspora, with a ceilidh held by the Toronto Gaelic Society to mark the book launch and queues for signings.

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“I’ve signed over 2,000 copies of my cookbook and have loved meeting many folk with Hebridean and Scottish connections across the country”, said MacLeod, who is using a paw stamper alongside his autograph, since Seoras isn’t there to sign his own name. “I’m already looking forward to returning to the US next month for a special book event at New York Tartan Week on the 11th of April and a trip to Philadelphia on the 14th”.

MacLeod has recently announced his third cookbook Hebridean Baker: At Home will be released in the UK on October 12, 2023.

The Hebridean Baker: My Scottish Island Kitchen, Black & White Publishing, £26

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Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.
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