Not one to shy away from what she really thinks, the kooky and quirky celebrity chef Rachel Khoo appeared on the BBC Breakfast sofa earlier this week, hitting out at the lack of females on today’s cooking programs. And she’s got a point. With the exception of Mary Berry, Lorraine Pascale and Nigella, it would appear if you’re white, male and middle aged you’re more likely to get a spot on a prime time TV show, without the need for lashings of lipsticks and good looks.
If you’re of the opposite sex Khoo believes you’ve got to look a certain way, a historic problem, which really is a little passé given the huge number of female food writers and bloggers out there. This however hasn’t stopped the Croyden chef. Although her next show won’t be on the BBC, despite her hit series The Little Paris Kitchen attracting 2 million viewers world wide, Khoo’s new series Kitchen Notebook will be screened on the digital Good Food Channel from Monday. A gain for The Good Food Channel if you ask me!
I may be ever so slightly biased given that Cafe St Honoré is one of my favourite dining haunts in Edinburgh but a huge congratulations to the man in charge Neil Forbes who has not only won the title of ‘Chef of the Year’ but his restaurant has also been awarded ‘Sustainable Business of the Year’ at the 2014 Catering in Scotland Awards.
As one of Scotland’s most passionate chefs his menu makes the most of good, honest, seasonal ingredients, which are sourced locally. He is joined by a passionate team of chefs who also share his ethos and produce simple dishes packed full of flavour. Although Cafe St Honore has a distinct Parisian feel as you walk through its door off the cobbled streets, the food is very much all about the best of Scotland’s larder and Neil works hard to support the local economy by reducing food miles in line with his Slow Food philosophy. This is a restaurant that has stuck to its original roots and is going from strength to strength.
Meanwhile, get ready as the the countryside is set to hit Edinburgh. The countdown is now on to the start of The Royal Highland Show, which gets underway in less than two weeks time. This is without a doubt one of the biggest occasions for those working in the food and agricultural industry, providing farmers and food producers with an opportunity to showcase their livelihoods to a wider market.
And this year foodies are in for a treat. The Scotland Food & Drink Hall will feature a host of quality and award-winning products from almost 100 companies, plus a line-up of some of Scotland’s top chefs demonstrating their culinary skills, including the man of the moment Neil Forbes and Paul Wedgewood.
The Food Hall is for many a must see attraction for those visiting the show show, which runs for four days from the 19th to the 22nd of June. It’s an opportunity to smell and taste the best of Scotland’s food and drink scene under one roof. An opportunity not to be missed.
Looking ahead to the return of Edinburgh’s Foodies Festival which pitches up in Inverleith Park again this year between the 8th and 10th of August, organsiers will welcome Master Chef winners, top producers and award winning street food.
Celebrating Scotlands’ finest produce and culinary masters, the festival, which began eight years ago, will showcase 200 artisan producers, pop up restaurants and premium brands.
Mark Greenaway of Bistro Moderne, TV Chef Tony Singh, The Great British Menu’s Jacqueline O’Donnell and Glasgow’s The Three Sisters bakers Gillan, Nichola and Linsey, will all take to the stage to cook their signature dishes live in the Chefs’ Theatre.
For those still in love with the home baking trend there will also be a new Chocolate, Baking and Preserves Village and for lovers of alfresco dining there will also be a new BBQ Arena, guaranteed to be a hit for the men no doubt! And if that’s not enough there will also be a Chili Market as well as the addition of a Vintage Tea Tent. That has certainly whet my appetite!