The Scottish Manifesto of Chefs and Cooks

Scotland has the ambition to be a Good Food Nation: a place where people from every walk of life take pride and pleasure in the food served day by day; where every business and public kitchen serving food is committed to serving good food; and where food businesses are a thriving well-known feature of local and national economies, with each part of Scotland rightly proud of its culinary heritage, past and present.

Many Scottish hospitality businesses are already delivering this ambition to a very high standard. But the sector as a whole has scope to improve its practices and offering, and needs to tackle some big challenges: from staff shortages and loss of skills, to pressures to provide healthy and sustainable food while remaining competitive.

At the same time, Scotland is grappling with huge issues around food: sky-high levels of obesity and other diet-related illnesses, rocketing food poverty and use of foodbanks, ageing farmers, and food producers who are not making a living from their labour.

Everyone in Scotland has a role to play to address these challenges and make this country a true Good Food Nation. Success relies on everyone working together towards a common goal.

So we’ve come together with chefs and cooks to articulate how hospitality businesses, and in particular chefs and cooks, can contribute to making Scotland a Good Food Nation, in this new Manifesto. Because chefs and cooks influence what we put on our plates and how we think and talk about food. In other words, they could be powerful advocates for Scotland’s Good Food Nation ambition.

The Manifesto sets out the direction of travel for the industry, an aspiration to work towards for everyone who cooks for a living – whether in a trendy restaurant, in a school canteen, or a local community café; whether as a small independent business or for a large international company.

The aim of this new initiative is to bring chefs and cooks together, as leaders and influencers, to address some of the challenges facing the industry and to create a more positive food culture in Scotland so that everyone knows and enjoys good food.

We want to build an inclusive and inspiring community of chefs and cooks who share this ambition and will support each other to achieve best practice, through peer learning and exchange.

 We want to amplify the voice of those who share these values, to set the tone for which practices are acceptable and which are not, for what is considered good food and what’s not – so that we can raise standards across the sector and improve food across our country.

We want to facilitate change by strengthening existing activity: signposting chefs and cooks to existing resources, certification schemes, and other initiatives to help them learn, progress, and be rewarded for their efforts.

This Manifesto of Chefs and Cooks starts the conversation about the role of hospitality in making Scotland a Good Food Nation, and creates a space for chefs and cooks to inspire each other to be the best they can be.