The fifth annual Scottish Food Proms in Glasgow promises to demonstrate the vibrancy of Scottish cuisine. Jonathan Trew
clears his diary.
Scotland does well out of its festivals. Every summer the world foctrses its ‘ attention on Iidinburgh as critics from I across the globe congregate to rmrll I over the International Festier and Fringe. Glasgow‘s International Jazz I Festival pulls in hep cats from more origins than there are strains of jazz. and the city's (‘eltic Connections. although still in its early years. is already fast establishing a name for
folk circuit. The twelve-day Scottiin Food Proms aims to raise the profile of
Scottish cuisine in much the same way
as the other festivals have raised awareness of the arts and music in Scotland. The organisers estimate that around 50,000 visitors will take part in the various activities around (.ilasgow f and the event is attracting considerable interest from media and foodies abroad. The Proms are the brainchild of Brian Ilannan. former editor of the [In/cl Am! ;
I | rtsell as one of the truest events on the l l
Catering magazine. llanrran realised
that Scotland has an enviable reputation I for its natural produce bttt otrr skills in the kitchen are underrated. ()ur oysters. salmon. game and until recently. Aberdeen Angus beef. are highly sought after on the global food market btrt few people could name a single chef from north of the border with the possible. and extremely recent. exception of television celeb Nick
FOOD & DRINK
Five years ago. llannan set about . trying to change the popular perception of Scottish cuisine and launched this showcase. As a direct result of this
initiative the Proms now organises the Scottish Food Awards. the Scottish Home [Economics Conference. the
. The twelve-day Scottish Food Proms aims to raise the I profile of Scottish cuisine in much the same way as the other festivals have raised awareness of the arts and music in Scotland.
Schools I-‘ood liducation project. the Scottish Chef Awards and was the main catalyst for the establishment ofthc Scottish Chefs Association. Between them. these different bodies aim to encourage new talent within the food industry. support the work of the existing members of the profession and blow a trumpet on behalf of the industry‘s achievements.
| In the long term. the benefits for the
I Hafiz I 10 West Bow. Grassmarket. 225 5028. Spices. the earniverous Indian cousin of the vegetarian Kalpna restaurant. has relaunched itself as an Indo-Persian establishment. The Indian dishes are still there. but running alongside them on the menu are an intriguing range of Persian specialities. While there are more similarities than differences between Indian and Persian cuisine. the flavours and preparation methods which distinguish the two are worth investigating. A
typical Persian dish relies on a long marination and either slow cooking or grilling over charcoal. lamb is the predominant meat used and saffron plays a large part in the taste of many dishes. It is a rich and spicy cuisine without being overpowering and the liberal use of fresh lime adds a zesty tang. The side dishes and drinks include some exotic choices such as (long/r. a yoghurt-lxrsed drink and k/riu .v/mm'. cucumber in brine.
The emphasis throughout the menu is on aromatic ﬂavours rather than perspiration- indtrcing curries. To this end. the Hafiz takes the
time to roast. grind and
blend their own spices and
herbs rather than rely on ready-made powders and pastes which may have been packaged or bottled months. if not years before being used. This DIY method ensures that the flavours are as pungent or as subtle as required rather than a hit or miss affair dependent upon the vagaries of the spice packers. While many dishes in Indian restaurants are based on the heavy use of garlic and oil the dishes at the llafrz are lighter and in sophisticated. No dish is over £8 and most are around the £6 mark. (Jonathan Trewl
You’ve seen the animated film, now eat the cast at the cake decoration exhibition
man in the street will be measured in Scotland enjoying a healthy and inventive restaurant scene in which talent is rewarded and recognised. In the short term. visitors to the Proms can have a genuine taste of Scotland.
The three main sites for the Proms events are Princes Square. (‘entral Station and assorted establishments in the West End incltrding Ilillhead library. Many of the restaurants in the Princes Square mall are offering special menus and meals to mark the occasion and from Thursday IS April to Sunday
2| the mall will play host to (Ilasgow's largest ever exhibition of cake decoration and sugar craft. Over 100 cakes will be on show demonstrating the wit and creative vitality of the country's top decorators. l’eckham‘s deli in (‘entral Station is running promotions and tastings of Scottish produce throughout the Proms and at Ilillhead library there is a collection of postcards dating back to the IS‘Ills which detail (ilasgow's history as a giant food factory.
At last years I-‘ood l’roms it was the tastings and restaurant kitchen tours which proved to be the most popular events and this looks likely to be l'CPCiIICtI [his year Willi seven of (Ilasgow's top restaurants throwing open their doors to reveal the secrets of their chefs. 'I'he tutored tastings. many of which are at ('ottier“s restaurant on llyndland Street. range from the quotidien such as cheese and chocolate to the esoteric there can be few people w ho have tasted smoked alligator.
('ottier"s is also the venue for two day s of cookery derrronstrations on Friday I‘) and Saturday 20. Nick .\'airn will be extolling the virtues of Ilair and ﬂames and a number of less famous but equally talented chefs from well-know (llasgow restaurants will share their knowledge.
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