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The Scotch Beef Club
February is the time for romance, with Valentines just around the corner. Why not spoil your spouse, partner or love interest with a special night out? Wine them and dine them at one of the 285 Scotch Beef eateries located across the country, where you can be guaranteed that the beef dished up is Scotch and of the highest quality.
The Scotch Beef Club was launched in 1994, in Edinburgh Castle, with HRH Princess Royal, the Honorary President, in attendance. The Club, then with 50 hand-picked founder members, was “unashamedly based on quality.” The founder members had Michelin stars or were high profile chefs working in some of the best addresses in the UK. It has not changed – it has just got a little bit bigger.
There are now 285 members, ranging from the rural tranquillity of The Three Chimneys on Skye to busy city centre restaurants such as Le Gavroche in central London.
The aim of the Scotch Beef Club was to differentiate those who are proud to serve Scotch Beef, from others who do not care quite so much about the provenance and quality of the food they serve. All of Scotland's Michelin starred restaurants are members, but the Club is not elitist. There are many members who are modest local establishments who do not have A-listed clientele, but really care about the food they buy and how they prepare it.
Stewart Cameron, well known as Executive Chef at Turnberry for many years, is our Beef Club assessor. He has, on occasions, been known as The Meat Detective! He aims to visit all new applicants before they are accepted into the club and all existing members at least once within any two-year period. Membership is reviewed annually so Stewart covers a lot of country. He can tell, at a glance, if a kitchen is well run, if the produce is freshly prepared and if records are being well kept.
All members are issued with a Record Book and are asked to list their Scotch Beef purchases. Some initially did think that this was a hassle, but others find it is a very useful tool to check prices, quality, and most importantly, if it is Scottish or not. “Scotch Beef slaughtered in Argentina” has been the most serious misdemeanour discovered so far.
As well as checking the provenance of the meat being served, the educational arm of the Club – The Scotch Beef Academy – offers members the opportunity to participate in meat masterclasses, which aim to tackle knowledge and skills issues and help young chefs learn more about meat and how best to use it.
Last year there were three; one on beef in London, one on pork in Gleneagles and another featuring lamb, in conjunction with Scottish Borders Food Network.
Of the 285 members, slightly more than half are in Scotland, but there are some wonderful traditional coaching inns and country houses in the Cotswolds, some very exclusive Clubs in London and unusual hideaways, bursting with character, such as the Corswall Lighthouse near Stranraer.
To find out more, visit www.scotchbeefclub.org where you can browse through our extensive lisitings and select the perfect venue for a night out or a weekend away – a great escape from the winter blues.
Remember you have to be in it to win it so send off your entry to our prizedraw now or sign up online.