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The Scotsman needs your help to find Scotland’s next Food Pioneer

Join us and the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards 2018 to celebrate our nation’s Food Pioneers and lend us your expertise to uncover them.

Published: February 20, 2018

Do you know someone shaking up the Scottish food scene with fresh new ideas?

The Scotsman is once again calling for people to nominate those who they believe are at the forefront of Scotland’s food and drink industry in the search to find Scotland’s next Food Pioneer.

The category, created for the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards (SFDEA) in 2016, is designed to recognise an innovative company or person who has made a ground-breaking impact on Scottish food and/or drink.

The SFDEA celebrate innovation, enterprise and excellence in the Scottish food and drink scene.

Growing year on year, they have become a highly acknowledged accreditation to receive by industry peers, and offer a fantastic platform on which businesses can present their produce to the nation.

In 2016, Edinburgh chef Fred Berkmiller was chosen by our panel of judges from more than 140 nominees (chosen by the public) to receive the award in its first year.

Last year Graham Suttle, co-owner of Kained Holdings, was ­chosen from a list of finalists that included Rachel Hammond of Hammond Charcuterie in the Borders, Tony ­Reeman-Clark, of Strathearn ­Distillery in Perthshire and ­Edinburgh-based chef Colin Hinds, who runs the ­Kilted Lobster and Rib Aye restaurants, to become our Food Pioneer for 2017.

This year’s winning Food Pioneer could be a chef offering a new style of cuisine, a restaurateur helping to shape Scotland’s culinary landscape, a business owner creating partnerships to encourage sustainability and market growth or perhaps an artisan producer introducing new and innovative produce, or methods to do so.

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It could be anyone, at any age, involved at any level across the industry. All you have to do is select the person or company who fit the criteria below, then enter their details online at and the reason you believe they should receive the award.

Each nominee, and your reason for choosing them, will be read and judged by a panel comprising of The Scotsman staff and representatives from Scotland Food & Drink, following the nomination deadline on Friday 23 March.

Food Pioneer 2018

Last year’s nominations included; producers, bakers, chocolatiers, foragers and farmers to educationalists, campaigners, suppliers, caterers, cook school proprietors, restaurateurs and chefs.
Your nominee should:

• Represent the breadth of talent, skill and passion across the industry.

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• Demonstrate passion for Scottish food and drink and have made a strong contribution to the industry.

• Be an ambassador for others, a champion of their profession or an innovator driving their sector forward.

This year’s award ceremony will be held at the EICC on Thursday 7 June, with entries for the core awards close on the 9 March.

James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & drink said: “Over the last 10 years, Scotland’s food and drink industry has become the country’s best performing industry. Food exports have more than doubled, it’s Scotland biggest employer and sales of Scottish brands in the UK have risen over 40 per cent.

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“Behind all this is the drive and determination of the people who make up the industry; their hard work is key to ensuring the industry’s reputation continues to grow.

"This is why we are delighted the Food Pioneer has returned for another year to celebrate the breadth of talent, skill and passion from across the industry. I encourage everyone to get involved and nominate their Food Pioneer.”

You can nominate your chosen person or company here:

The Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards are organised by Scotland Food & Drink and in partnership with The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS). The headline sponsor is Asda.

• For more information visit:

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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