Calling All Gourmets: The Return of Gourmet Glasgow

reinforcing the city's position as the gastronomic destination outside London.

Feature by Anna Battista | 14 Aug 2006

If you aspire to turn into a gourmet or if you already fancy yourself as a connoisseur of the pleasures of the palate, Glasgow is the place to go in August as Gourmet Glasgow, the city's gastronomic event par excellence, is back.

The brainchild of Alan Tomkins - owner and co-owner of many fine eateries across Glasgow, among them also Gamba, specialising in the best of Scottish seafood - this year's event will also feature a food and drink festival at the Old Fruitmarket. The festival will offer wine and whisky tasting, cookery demonstrations with chefs Jean-Christophe Novelli, Aldo Zilli and Michael Caines, as well as chefs from Glasgow's leading restaurants, and a Gourmet Evening in aid of the Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice at the Radisson SAS Hotel. Throughout the month there will be special value Dine Around offers with menus at £15.00 per person in local restaurants, all members of the Glasgow Restaurateurs Association (GRA). Interactive cookery demonstrations and classes on the art of menu preparation will also be on offer at various restaurants.

But is such an event a mere celebration of food or is there something else behind it? "Gourmet Glasgow is about putting the gastronomic spotlight on Glasgow at least once a year, showing the potential the city can offer in terms of a food festival and reinforcing its position as the gastronomic destination outside London," explains Ian Fleming, GRA Chairman, owner of The Buttery in Glasgow and co-owner - with celebrity chef Nick Nairn - of the restaurant and hotel The Lake, in the Port of Menteith, Stirlingshire.
The event is also an opportunity for the GRA members to showcase the diversity of the restaurant offerings in Glasgow; "We are a fairly large body as we have 80 members," Fleming says, "the GRA is probably the most proactive organisation in Great Britain and it works very hard with other bodies around the city to promote Glasgow as a destination."

According to Fleming, Glasgow is the right place for such a gastronomic event because it has become a pretty dynamic and cosmopolitan city, also thanks to its eclectic restaurant and café scene. "Glasgow is not only about the culture, the museums, the architecture and the retail experience, it's about the food and the service as well," he states, "and what we want to do at the GRA is to get more and more people to come here and look at the city not only as a great place to live, work and club, but also as a great place to eat."

The restaurants involved in Gourmet Glasgow will try to build on the success the event achieved in 2005: sales of tickets are already ahead of last year and many tourists are expected; "There is a great appetite - forget the pun - for events such as Gourmet Glasgow in Great Britain," Fleming claims, "and we are expecting a lot of English visitors for the 2006 edition. We may even draw a few people out of Edinburgh to enjoy this experience."

Whether you're a gourmet, gastronome, bon vivant or bon viveur, Gourmet Glasgow – the event that promises to transform the ethos of eating out - offers a range of cuisine to satisfy everyone. Let your taste buds be tempted this August.

Gourmet Glasgow, various restaurants across Glasgow, August 1-31; Food & Drink Festival, Old Fruitmarket, August 18-20; Gourmet Evening in aid of the Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice, Radisson SAS Hotel, August 30th.