Dining event serves up North East food tourism inspiration

Peter Cook of Opportunity North East, Meldrum House Executive Chef David Murray, and guest speaker Brian Grigor, Head Chef at the Michelin-starred Number One restaurant in The Balmoral, Edinburgh.
Peter Cook of Opportunity North East, Meldrum House Executive Chef David Murray, and guest speaker Brian Grigor, Head Chef at the Michelin-starred Number One restaurant in The Balmoral, Edinburgh.

More than 90 representatives from North East businesses explored opportunities to develop food tourism within the region and increase the use of local produce in its foodservice sector at a dinner on Monday, April 24

The North East Food & Drink Network Dining Event at Meldrum House Hotel, organised by Opportunity North East (ONE) and Aberdeenshire Council, saw a menu of local produce served up to attendees from almost 60 businesses and organisations. Brian Grigor, Head Chef at the Michelin-starred Number One restaurant at The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, was the guest speaker.

Realising the growth potential of food and drink tourism for the region is a key theme for ONE as part of its agenda to drive business growth across the food, drink and agriculture sector. Guests at the dinner identified existing examples of successful food tourism offerings in the region and looked at opportunities to develop visitor spend driven by its high-quality and world renowned produce from the land and sea.

The 2017 programme of dining events also aims to increase the use of local food and drink in eating establishments by creating opportunities for local producers, processors, hoteliers, chefs and restaurateurs to network and make business connections.

ONE aims to build on the region’s significant strengths in food, drink and agriculture to achieve overall increases in turnover, profitability and high quality employment in the sector in the medium to long term. The focus areas for its activity are business growth; innovation; supply chain integration; market development and skills. ONE co-funds its work with private and public partners, including Aberdeenshire Council, Scotland Food & Drink and Scottish Enterprise, to maximise growth in the sector.

The menu on the evening included gin and tonic from Summerhouse Drinks, Esker Spirits and Moray Distillery; Sutherlands of Portsoy Gourmets Choice smoked salmon and Bruce of the Broch haggis balls canapes; lamb from Presly & Co; and a selection of ice cream from Simpsons Buckie.