I’m a real foodie. Loving cooking it, love eating it, love sharing it. So when the invite came for Heritage Portfolio’s first Aficionados I jumped at the chance to see what the chef’s at Scotland’s best catering company (we think so anyway!) were up to this time…
Many of you will know that Scotland isn’t renowned for it’s exquisite cuisine, yet perhaps with underdog aggression we’re fighting for the title of best in Britain… after all, it’s Scotland that has one of the world’s best natural larders on it’s doorstep.
One of the most forward thinking of our food pioneers is Edinburgh based catering company Heritage Portfoilio. Not only do the have a host of gifted and passionate chefs in their midst, but they also cater in some of the most beautiful venues in Scotland.
Executive Development Chef Robbie was lucky enough to get the opportunity to spend a week at Noma in Denmark – the world’s best restaurant. Here he had his eyes opened to a whole new philosophy towards food and returned back to Scotland inspired and excited to share the Noma way, not only with his team, but with the wider hospitality industry….the first Aficionados was born.
As Robbie shared his experiences with the group of keen listeners, we sampled the delicious treats him and the team were preparing, like seaweed meringue! He spoke about the chemistry behind Noma food, their detailed preparation processes, the service and style, but most of all, their food philosophy.
Noma take their Nordic heritage seriously and when it comes to creating dishes, they look to their local environment for inspiration. Foraging trips to the countryside are a regular event where the team comb the land for berries, herbs and other things that aren't normally cultivated. They experiment with different combinations, paying attention to foods that compliment each other in nature, finding ways for them to compliment each other in cooking too.
I think Robbie was most excited and intrigued by this because he knows what Scotland's own countryside has to offer.
(And I have to quickly mention some of the food preparation tasks we did - a replica of some of what Robbie did during his week at Noma... Pealing walnuts, separating crab with tweezers under UV lights in a fridge and carefully detaching the tiniest selection of herb leaves where just some of the tasks that left us all with a huge respect for the Noma chefs and the Heritage Portifolio chefs (photos below!).)
So what does this all mean for incentive travelers?
Well, it’s unlikely the food is ever going to be the decision maker when it comes to choosing an incentive destination, but what this does illustrate is that Scotland should no longer be given the 'wooden spoon' for it’s cuisine.
Seeing the passion and excitement the chef’s at Heritage Portfolio have for finding new ideas, intense flavors, and for using everything that's growing around us is inspirational and I've no doubt they will continue to produce fantastic Scottish food.
As a DMC in Scotland, this is great news for us because it means we can offer you, the incentive traveller, incredible local Scottish food and perfect service at many wonderful venues.
Scotland is also home to several fantastic cook schools and dining experiences where you can see, learn and of course taste what Scotland's natural larder has to offer.
Thanks to Heritage Portfolio for their invitation to attend Aficionados!