Claire Macdonald, of the Kinloch Lodge hotel and cookschool, on local food

Chef's Choice

Claire Macdonald

It is now so many years ago that I cannot remember exactly when that the Skye and Lochalsh Horticultural Association invited all hoteliers and restaurateurs in the region to their AGM and I was the only one to accept. But that was the start of our contact at Kinloch with local growers and producers. In those days ‘local’ still could mean a three to four-hour round trip to collect foodstuffs. These days we have a Food Link Van, initiated and funded by the LEC (Local Enterprise Company) but now self supporting.

We have a plethora of salad leaves and fresh herbs, berries in season, vegetables, garlic, cultivated wild mushrooms, as well as mussels, fish and shellfish, and smoked fish. We are all hoping to get our abattoir re-instated, but it is possible to buy local venison, lamb and beef.

Scotland has the richest larder of any country in the world, both natural and cultivated. It is thrilling work indeed when doing cooking demonstrations around the UK (and in other countries around the world) to be able to tell people about our wonderful foods. It – the food – is the single most appealing aspect of Scotland. Many other mainland European countries have the same wealth of beauty and history as we do. But we have, I most firmly believe, the best foodstuffs by far, in sheer quality. We should be so proud – I most certainly am.

Claire Macdonald runs the hotel and cookschool at Kinloch Lodge, Sleat, Isle of Skye, 01471 833333.

For more on food from Skye and Lochalsh, and the Food Link van, see


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