National Chef of Scotland Gary Maclean and Edinburgh Food Hall Bonnie & Wild have launched a series of exclusive private dining events that will showcase the very best of the country’s food and drink.
The BBC Masterchef winner said his “Chef’s Table” experience will tell “the stories of Scotland’s amazing food and drink producers”. The three-day event, comprising six exclusive sittings, is being held at Bonnie & Wild’s Scottish Marketplace, in collaboration with the Islay-based Bruichladdich Distillery as part of its B Corp Month celebrations.
The Chef’s Table experience will see the award-winning chef personally prepare an immaculate five-course menu in front of guests while they enjoy an exclusive selection of aperitifs, drams and cocktails courtesy of the socially minded distillery.
B Corp Month is a global initiative to highlight companies and organisations committed to using the power of business to transform the global economy to benefit local communities and the wider environment. Bruichladdich became a B Corp in 2020, the first whisky and gin distilling company in Europe to achieve this prestigious status.
Gary says: “After taking part in last year’s Cop 26, I felt even more fired up about promoting our national larder and telling the stories of some of Scotland’s amazing food and drink producers who put sustainability and the environment at the heart of their business.
“By hosting these dinners in Bonnie & Wild’s Scottish Marketplace, and partnering with the B Corp Bruichladdich Distillery, I can bring these food and drink stories to a wider audience. I want to show people exactly why we should be so massively proud of the amazing produce and producers of Scotland.”
Gary’s five-course meal opens with a serving of artisanal rye bread and broth, before moving on to a course of traditional Scottish root vegetables and barbequed celeriac. A seafood course puts Shetland mussels on the menu, accompanied by sustainably sourced Gigha halibut.
Gary explains: “Halibut has become a victim of its own popularity, and is now an endangered species. However, the incredible Gigha Halibut company have pioneered a land-based aquaculture system that means they can produce these beautiful fish sustainably and cleanly. Rather than a detrimental impact on the environment, one of the by-products is cleaner sea water.”
Following the seafood course is a serving of game, with a smoked roe deer loin taking centre stage.
Gary says: “By eating local, culled roe deer, whose population is more than 350,000, we help to reduce the damage these herds cause to wildlife, forests and crops, while also avoiding the environmental impact that industrial animal farming can have.”
For the fifth and final course, the humble apple takes centre stage, with Gary sourcing the fruit from the myriad small orchards around the Scotland, including many within urban environments.
He says: “Local community gardens are found all over Scotland. They provide an abundance of seasonal organic produce, while also serving as a hub for local communities. They provide a platform for people to learn more about diet and the environment as well as learning the skills to grow healthy food. And it helps us all to be more aware of the food we have around us, in our gardens, our communities, and in our wild lands.”
Dinner guests will be treated to a range of drinks from Bruichladdich Distillery, including an Old Fashioned made from Port Charlotte 10, pear juice and native spices; a martini made from The Botanist Gin, silver birch vermouth and fermented gooseberry; and a highball comprising Bruichladdich’s Classic Laddie single malt whisky, rhubarb and rosemary.
Gary, who won BBC Masterchef: The Professionals in 2016, says partnering with Bruichladdich Distillery was the perfect fit. “We’ve partnered with Bruichladdich for B Corp month, which works to promote businesses that have a strong social purpose. They have a superb portfolio of drinks, and possess an ethos that chimes strongly with my own beliefs and approach to cooking and sourcing food.”