A Capital-based chef has scooped the coveted award for Scottish sourcing at the prestigious Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards 2017.
Fred Berkmiller, chef patron of AA rosette-awarded restaurants l’escargot blanc and l’escargot bleu, and wine bar Bar à Vin, scooped the prestigious prize.
Run by Scotland Food & Drink, the awards are the biggest of their kind in Scotland, celebrating excellence, innovation and enterprise.
Fred has consistently been recognised for his excellence in food and drink and ambassadorial support of Scottish produce.
A long time celebrated member of Slow Food Chef Alliance, The Scotsman’s Food Pioneer 2016, and most recently co-founder of The Committee for Defence of Artisan Food, Fred is a huge contributor to the Scottish food and drink industry.
Fred said: “Respect for produce and provenance is something that has been instilled in me since starting out as an apprentice in France when I was 13 years old.
“It has remained at the heart of my cookery, and is something I have passed on to my staff. To me the creation of a dish begins with the producer, so it’s essential to have a great relationship with them, know exactly what it is I’m getting and how it has been grown, reared or bred.
“Scotland has a fantastic range of world-class artisan producers, so why would I go anywhere else for my ingredients when it’s right on my doorstep.
“I am honoured to win the award for Scottish sourcing, as it is this that drives the work I do both in and out of my restaurants.”
Only buying in whole animals, with a nose to tail ethos enforced, the l’escargot restaurants are renowned for offering delicacies such as pigs ear and snout, duck neck and chicken gizzards, helping sustain local producers and aiding in reducing food waste.
Sourcing Scottish, Fred and his team create classic French dishes using the best of Scottish, sourcing snails from the Isle of Barra, cockerels from Linda Dick and duck from Gartmorn Farm to name just a few of the l’escargot suppliers.
Fred opened l’escargot blanc, in 2009. That same year he renovated an old clockmaker’s shop on 56 Broughton Street to open l’escargot bleu with his wife Betty. Bar à Vin opened in 2015, as a result of renovation work on the old barber shop next door to l’escargot blanc.