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Scotland may soon appoint first national chef – but who will it be?

Scotland is set to appoint its first national chef with a remit of improving the dietary health of Scots and championing the country’s produce.

Published: April 16, 2016
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Should the SNP win re-election in May, then the party will accelerate efforts to shortlist candidates.

Chefs thought to be in the running include Tom Kitchin, the restaurateur and Scotland on Sunday contributor and Neil Forbes, Chef Director of Café St Honore.

Andrew Fairlie, Neil Forbes, Nick Nairn and Jacqueline O’Donnell could also be under consideration.

Speaking to the Herald, Fairlie, who runs Gleneagles Hotel’s two-Michelin starred restaurant, backed the creation of the ambassadorial role.

“It makes sense to have on person representing and being responsible for all that is great about Scottish food, for it will bring some much-needed consistency,” he said. “But whoever becomes the national chef would have to have some kudos.”

Also backing the idea, Kitchin said: “I would say that anything that helps promote Scotland’s wonderful produce, and encourages young people to engage with food, is a good thing. It sounds like a massive role for one person. I wish whoever takes it on the best of luck.”
The appointment of a national chef will dovetail with the mooted introduction of a Good Food Nation Bill, whose focus will be on promoting Scottish organic food and drink firms.

An SNP spokesman told the Herald: “Our food policy over the next five years will be based on growing our food and drink exports even more strongly, focusing on some of the key overseas markets, as well as a renewed push on the home front to see more Scottish produce used by councils and other public bodies.

"And we will appoint Scotland’s first national chef to act as an ambassador, championing our food and drink at home and abroad.”

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Ray Philp has been at the Scotsman since 2011. Since then, he has written widely about music in magazines such as Red Bull Music Academy Magazine and Resident Advisor, and was a former editor and regular contributor at The Skinny magazine.

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