"Scotland`s fine natural ingredients combined with such imaginative recipes from inventive chefs are bringing new interest to the country`s cuisine, as well as confirming what many have known for a long time"
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The international image of Scotland has long been associated with a sense of history, tradition, the fine architecture of its cities matched by magnificent scenery, the mountains and lochs of the Highlands and Islands. The national cuisine has not, until recently, been a key attraction to entice visitors. Negative and disturbing reports of the typical "Scottish diet", consisting of pies, chips, sausages and deep fried Mars Bars together with Glasgow`s high rate of heart disease has given our cuisine an inaccurate and damaging reputation. With a touch of typical Glaswegian humour, the high-class West-End restaurant "Ubiquitous Chip" (pictured above) took a sly dig at this image when it opened some years ago.
Yet today there is far more to a Scottish supper than haggis, tatties `n neeps, or fish `n chips served in a paper poke. Glasgow in particular has long been renowned for a good choice of international cuisine, especially Indian, and is now quickly emerging as a stylish, thriving city, one of the most exciting places in the UK in which to eat out, with a diverse range of award winning restaurants serving quality, traditional Scottish cuisine - with a contemporary twist. Fish and chips will always have its place, but now you will also find on the menu Seared scallops on saffron sauce on a bed of asparagus, served with rocket leaves and orange and hazelnut vinaigrette.
Glasgow is now second only to London as Britain`s culinary capital and was recently voted the top regional city for the choice and quality of restaurants, in Harden`s Top UK Restaurants and described in the US magazine, Travel & Leisure as "The UK`s Hippest and Most Happening City."
So popular was the publication of the book Glasgow on a Plate, (Black and White Publishing Ltd) featuring the best of the city`s chefs and a selection of recipes, that Volume 2 has now been published.
So what has been happening to start this revolution in the kitchen?
The truth of course is in the pudding; the local fresh produce of Scotland - salmon, trout, West Coast lobster, oysters, scallops, Aberdeen Angus beef, excellent game, wild mushrooms, local raspberries from Blairgowrie, Orkney cheeses, [the list is endless], - has long had a superb reputation internationally with the export of the best seafood and beef to the top restaurants in London and Paris every day. The fine natural ingredients have always been there, but it has taken time to build up confidence in chefs and restaurateurs to be creative entrepreneurs, to take risks and offer an imaginative and cosmopolitan flavour to food; most importantly the task has been to woo the diner and develop a culture towards fine wining and dining.
Glasgow with its strong reputation as a style setter, and a dedicated follower of fashion, architecture and design, the opening of numerous innovative and contemporary restaurants, bistros, cafes and bars is all part of the revitalisation and reinvention of the city, over the last decade since the Year of Culture award in 1990.
With a feast of World cuisine available in the city from Japanese sushi to Indian Balti, Italian to Scottish oyster bars, a group of restaurateurs decided that, rather than compete with each other they should work together as an alliance, with the aim of joint promotion, improving standards and organising annual awards for achievements and distinction.
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