Scotland's Food Pioneer Fred Berkmiller launches Food and Drink Excellence Awards 2017

The Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards have been officially launched for 2017 by last year’s winner of the Food Pioneer award, Edinburgh chef Fred Berkmiller.

Published 12th Jan 2017
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

The awards recognise those businesses and individuals who are leading the way in innovation, enterprise and quality in Scotland’s food and drink sector.

A total of 21 categories, including brewing, distilling, own label and – new for 2017 – primary producer of the year, are now open, with entries being encouraged from small, medium and large food and drink producers across the country.

The event is organised by Scotland Food & Drink in partnership with the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS).

Scotland Food & Drink chief executive James Withers said: “The Excellence Awards allow us to celebrate some of our very best and highlight to the nation and beyond the strength of Scotland’s leading industry.

“To grow our reputation even further at home and around the world, we must continue to encourage new pioneers within the food and drink industry in this country.

“To further this objective, all awards entrants receive constructive feedback from our panel of expert judges. So, win or lose, our aim is to support the development of all the businesses that enter the awards.”

Voted for by the public and sponsored by The Scotsman, the inaugural Food Pioneer award – which drew in an initial 146 nominations from the public – was last year given to Mr Berkmiller, who runs the L’escargot bleu and L’escargot blanc restaurants and the wine bar Bar à Vin in Edinburgh, in recognition of his dedication to Scottish produce.

When he won the award last June, Mr Berkmiller – a keen ambassador for not only Scottish produce but also the producers – said: “Food Pioneer is indeed a very big title to receive, and one I am so happy to be associated with.

“I am extremely proud and happy to have received such a prestigious reward and feel extremely privileged to live and cook in Scotland.”

The awards celebrate innovation, enterprise and quality in the food and drink scene from businesses across Scotland. Growing year on year, they have become a highly acknowledged accreditation to receive by industry peers, and offer an invaluable platform on which businesses can showcase their quality produce to the nation.

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The official ceremony will once again take place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on 18 May. More than 800 people are expected to attend and tickets are available from the SFDEA website.

Attendees will be treated to a drinks reception followed by a three-course dinner created from the best of Scotland’s larder.

• Food and drink businesses can enter online at until Friday 24 February.


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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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