The best of Scottish salmon and seafood was on show in June, when a Worldchefs mission from the East joined industry leaders for a food and drink journey through Scotland.
The week-long exchange of information, friendship and industry insights included representatives from the Singapore Chefs Association, the Hong Kong Chefs Association and the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
They were joined by the China Daily, China’s largest English language newspaper, which has a circulation of about 200,000, and Japan’s Yomuri Shimbun, often credited as the newspaper with the highest circulation in the world, at approximately 13.5 million.
The Eastern guests were joined on their visit by representatives and companies from the sea fisheries and aquaculture industry; the Federation of Chefs Scotland, Scotland Food and Drink, and Scottish Development International (SDI).
Ruth Ellis, food and drink specialist from Scottish Development International, based in Hong Kong, led the visitors on their tour.
She said: ‘Raising awareness of Scottish seafood across Asian markets is vital in helping us meet our target of £7.1 billion worth of food and drink exports worldwide by 2017.
‘There is no better way to do this than showcasing the natural product in its environment, letting these influential industry leaders see the care and attention our industry takes to ensure it is handled and produced in the very best way.
‘Seafood exports to Asia have risen steadily, going from just under £8 million in 2007 to a little over £54 million in 2014.
‘Through ongoing efforts to build contacts and sharing with them the value in our products we can continue to drive this forward.’
The visitors were treated to a selection of Scottish salmon and seafood from every sector of the industry. The tour was designed to emphasise the diversity of the industry with a wide variety of activities, including creel fishing, a tour of a mussel and oyster farm, visiting a smokehouse and a salmon farm site.
Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, said: ‘Welcoming international guests to Scotland presents a fantastic opportunity for visitors to meet our dedicated farmers and to see for themselves the stunning natural environment and fresh waters where our high quality salmon grow.
‘As demand for high quality and healthy ingredients increase around the world, Asia in particular has become an increasingly important emerging market for Scottish salmon producers.
‘Links with key influencers, such as the world’s top chefs and media representatives, provide the perfect occasion to showcase our remarkable industry, which is an essential step to encourage business growth and to reinforce the premiumisation of Scottish salmon with consumers and buyers abroad.’
Ian Macdonald, president of the Federation of Chefs Scotland said: ‘Being members of the WorldChefs, it is always a pleasure to meet and share experiences with colleagues from other Chefs Associations from around the globe.
‘This visit can only strengthen those links, and the opportunity to share our fantastic natural larder further enhances our reputation worldwide.’
Partnership with Worldchefs strengthens the Scottish seafood industry’s international links to the world’s top chefs and hoteliers where Scottish provenance and quality is positioned at the forefront of shared activities.
With more than 10 million members worldwide, Worldchefs is influential in the restaurant and catering sectors, particularly regarding top quality seafood, and can enhance the reputation of a product or region across world markets.
Chef Chan Hon Cho (pictured) of the Hong Kong Jockey Club said: ‘It was an amazing journey to experience the supreme quality control and the meticulous production process, from fishing to final production. I found it truly inspiring to witness the pride and passion the Scots have in their jobs. This experience will motivate me to keep stretching myself on the path to excellence.’