Two award-winning chefs were in Carrick last week to be one of the first to sample Ayrshire New Potatoes at Girvan Mains farm.
Scotty Brand invited two of the UK’s leading chefs, Albert Roux OBE and Double Michelin Starred Andrew Fairlie, who joined Albert Bartlett (parent company to Scotty Brand) chairman Ronnie Bartlett, for a culinary tour of Scotland.
The summer season is the busiest time for the Scotty Brand with strawberries, Ayrshire New potatoes, asparagus and tomatoes all in full bloom, and therefore an ideal time for the Scottish food producer to show off the cream of the crop.
Like many leading chefs, both Albert and Andrew are huge enthusiasts for the Scottish larder and champion using local Scottish seasonal produce.
At Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, the menu is full of seasonal Scottish harvest, whilst Albert insists on using Scottish grown products at the Roux restaurants north of the Border.
Chef Albert Roux OBE said: “I love Scotland and see it as my second home in the UK. I like to spend about 3 months here every year and I never cease to be amazed by the dedication and passion for quality shown by the producers I meet.
“It has been a joy to sample the Scotty Brand foods this week and to meet the growers from the various farms we visited.”
Double Michelin-starred chef Andrew Fairlie added: “Scotland’s larder is un-matched in the world and every time I travel around the country I discover sensational new products.
“We serve Scotty Brand berries in Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, so it was a real pleasure to meet the Bruce family which grows them.”
First stop was Ayrshire to Girvan Mains Farm to meet grower Drew Young. The chefs were hands on digging the Ayrshires, and of course tasting the very first of the crop.
Ayrshire is an ideal location to grow early potatoes because it is on the south west coast of Scotland, which benefits from the warming waters of the Gulf Stream.
Ayrshire provides the first new potatoes grown in Scotland, which are in season from June to early September and are well into the process of applying for PGI status.
This is a formal recognition that the geography and climate of the Ayrshire region are essential to achieve the unique taste and character of the potato.
Champagne, Parma ham and Stilton cheese all enjoy the same recognition.