Chefs in the company’s Craft & Innovation team spent four months planning the 100% Scottish feast for international tourism executives attending the annual VisitScotland Expo at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange.
The bespoke dinner involved meticulous planning, with staple ingredients like sugar, garlic and onions, which are not commercially grown in Scotland in the necessary volumes, having to be replaced and alternatives with Scottish provenance identified and used instead.
Head Chef, Tom Beauchamp, said: “We wanted to do something completely different and put ourselves to the test by ensuring, down to the last grain of salt, every ingredient was grown, farmed or made in Scotland. We faced challenges at every course, for example how can you make a dessert for 850 people without sugar? But it forced us to think laterally and allowed us to really understand the amazing producers we work with.
“We foraged for wild garlic in West Lothian and harvested rosemary and thyme from the garden of one of our sous chef’s parents. Only three chefs were allowed to add any ingredients to the dishes, as even a speck of pepper erroneously being included would end our mission on achieving 100% Scottish provenance.”
The team’s hard work paid off, with 850 guests savouring the unique three-course dining experience, which included:
Shetland salmon home cured with Edinburgh gin, Shony seaweed from Mara and Hebridean sea salt, chilled veloute of wild garlic foraged by our chefs and Knockraiche Farm crème fraiche, sprouting broccoli salad and toasted Fords of Edinburgh soda scone
Robertson’s of Ardrossan pork three ways; twice cooked crispy belly, roast mini joint glazed with handpicked crab apple jelly and crunchy crackling, Stornoway black pudding
Served with a selection of seasonal vegetables from Gordon Caldwell in Girvan to include; heritage carrots, pickled white cabbage, salt baked beetroot, steamed baby potatoes
Homemade sauces and artisan chutneys to include; Craigie’s Farm apple sauce, onion relish from Pettigrew’s of Kelso, Isle of Arran whole grain mustard and Swede chutney from Henshelwood’s on the Isle of Bute
Grahams Family Dairy cream set with Scottish rhubarb and a swirl of Rhubarb syrup from The Scottish Fruit Company in Portobello, handmade Heather Hills Farm honey and Scottish oat crumble
Malcolm Roughhead, Chief Executive at VisitScotland, said: “We were bowled over by Sodexo’s passion and ambition to create an entirely Scottish menu for the VisitScotland Expo Dinner this year.
“Due to their strong relationship with Scottish producers and their undoubtedly extensive knowledge of ingredients, they delivered an incredible dinner, allowing tourism operators from across the globe the opportunity to sample Scotland’s amazing natural larder.
“VisitScotland expo is the country’s biggest travel trade event and showcases the best that Scotland has to offer in accommodation, entertainment, attractions and scenery as well as food and drink. A menu that boasted 100% Scottish provenance was therefore the perfect fit for the evening.”