THOUSANDS of samples of quick, tasty Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork dishes were handed out to visitors at the Quality Meat Scotland stand at the Royal Highland Show last week.

The bright, interactive, new-look stand at this year’s event – attended by a record 190,000 people – featured a new layout aimed at inspiring visitors to the show with a lively and inspiring ‘Scotch Kitchen’ cookery theatre and an interactive education area.

As well as the line-up of top chefs who demonstrated in the Scotch Kitchen cookery theatre – including Lady Claire Macdonald, Jak O’Donnell and the ‘Kilted Chef’, Craig Wilson – large crowds gathered to enjoy the butchers’ skills and banter provided by Scotch Butchers Club members James Lally of Shepperton Butchers and John Mackie of S Collins and Son Butchers in Glasgow.

Numerous farmers also took to the stage in the QMS stand to be interviewed by presenter Bryan Burnett including the winner of AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year, Robert Parker, and Graham Lofthouse whose farm is the current Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year. Several of the families involved in Scotland’s monitor farm programme also took to the stage to talk about their farming and monitor farm experiences along with former NSA chairman Sybil MacPherson.

Uel Morton, who was attending the event for the last time in his role as chief executive of QMS, said the new-look stand with its consumer-focus, had been very well received by farmers and other levy-payers at the show. 

“We greatly appreciated all the positive feedback about the stand and our activities with the public from farmers at the show. Every inch of the space we had this year was dedicated to communicating the positive messages our industry has direct to consumers – from quality assurance and animal welfare to red meat’s environmental and human health role,” said Mr Morton.

“It was also fantastic to see the response of the public to the demonstrations and other activities on the stand and to know that thousands of people headed home from the show with a better understanding of what sets the Scottish red meat industry apart as well as being armed our recipe leaflets and Scotch Kitchen magazine.” 

Among the star attractions on the stand was the butcher v baker scotch pie bake-off. The contestants, with 80 years of experience between them, were John Gall, of Brownings the Bakers in Kilmarnock, and Paul Boyle, of Boghall Butchers in Bathgate. 

The pies were made with Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb and a large crowd gathered to watch the contest with butcher Paul Boyle narrowly emerging as the overall winner. Both competitors have a long heritage in their respective trades. Brownings the Bakers currently holds the title of World Scotch Pie champions. The family-run business was established in 1945 by the grand-parents of the current managing director, John Gall. John Gall is a past president of trade association, Scottish Bakers, and butcher Paul Boyle is the current president of the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders’ Associations.

Paul Boyle runs two acclaimed butchers’ shops in Boghall and Broxburn and has previously held the coveted title of World Scotch Pie champion. His business is a member of QMS’s Scotch Butchers Club and won Scottish Butchers Shop of the Year in 2015.

A huge crowd gathered to watch the stars of the hit BBC series ‘The Mart’ bidding for success in a Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb cook-off on our stand. Aberdeen and Northern Marts’ auctioneer, Colin Slessor, and trainee auctioneer, Scott Chapman, went head-to-head in the culinary dual with Scott emerging as the winner, in a very close call finale. Scott also managed to auction off a Scotch Beef apron to raise £100 for charity.

Two of Scotland’s top weather presenters, working for rival television channels, took part in a lively charity cook-off. BBC’s Judith Ralston took on STV’s Sean Batty in a brilliant 40 minutes of banter and cooking which even included an impromptu song from former opera singer, Judith. The pair were challenged to come up with two delicious summer dishes, including Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb, from a bag of mystery ingredients.
Presenter Bryan Burnett provided the commentary on the action as the pair got to grips with their cookery challenge and answering questions about their weather careers at the same time.

Judge Jak O’Donnell, of Glasgow’s The Sisters Restaurants, judged Judith’s Scotch Beef mexican surprise to be the winner, in a close fought battle with much good-natured rivalry and banter between the pair.
International rugby sevens player Scott Riddell also took on former Scotland football player Ally Dawson in a cook off which tested the players’ skills off the pitch.

The pair were challenged to produce quick, tasty, nutritious dishes and their dishes were judged on taste and appearance by Frank Clarke, president of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, with support from the audience, with the eventual winner emerging as Ally Dawson. 
For more information, videos and pictures visited the Quality Meat Scotland Facebook page.