“Crerar Hotels pledge more than a Year of Scottish Food & Drink”
What’s the story?
Crerar Hotel Group (CHG) and Russell Hume Ltd have agreed a two year deal to ensure that all beef and lamb served to hotel guests across Scotland is sourced only from Scottish herds and flocks.
Paddy Crerar, CEO of CHG, tasked Head Chefs, restaurant teams and General Managers to work with key supply partner, Russel Hume Ltd, to devise a range of menus that would match the best of Scotland’s larder, to satisfy the demands of more than a million diners that dine with the hotels each year. The one sole aim being; to be wholly Scottish in beef and lamb, and only source meat from fully traceable Scottish assured farms, which then subsequently delivers in Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink and beyond. (The exception to the rule, was the request that the Crerar Chevin Country Park Hotel in Yorkshire stay with local sources from sustainable farms in Yorkshire.)
It’s been a personal frustration of Paddy’s over the last three decades - as a Scottish hotelier and a farmer - that his goal had so far eluded him until now. This being purely down to the logistics of the Crerar Hotel locations guaranteeing first class quality every time at a consistency of price and supply, that made that goal always just a perpetual ‘inch away’. Paddy’s passion and belief that the produce of Scotland is truly the world benchmark for quality has been the driving force in making this goal a reality with key supplier Russell Hume.
Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment said:
“It is great news that in our Year of Food and Drink Crerar Hotels has committed to using 100% Scotch beef and lamb, as well as sourcing only Scottish dairy produce and eggs.
“Our food and drink is loved at home and abroad and the tourism sector can play an important role by sourcing and promoting local options. This helps our primary producers and helps to sell the fantastic story of Scotland as a Land of Food and Drink.
“With the food and drink sector reporting a record turnover, it is truly a great Scottish success story and I am pleased Crerar Hotels is stepping up to the plate and helping to play its part in promoting local produce.”
How did they do it?
Russell Hume were tasked with sourcing native and highbred crosses beef breeds including Highland, Luing, Galloway, Aberdeen Angus and Blue Grey. Their ideal spec looks for grass fed and grass finished beasts. The beef is matured between five and six weeks setting the flavour.
Lamb is specked on size of carcass, with preference given to Blackie cross for flavour and fat content.
‘No tears over spilt milk’ – recognising the quality of Scottish dairy produce and the desperate position of many Scottish dairy farmers, Crerar Hotels is committed to a Scottish only supply line for all dairy produce and has nominated Graham's Family Dairy as a sole milk and butter supplier.
Crerar Hotels has also just cracked a deal for supply of Scottish only eggs from Braehead Foods, Ayrshire, whose Scottish medium fresh eggs are fully traceable Aberdeenshire Farm Assured eggs.
Crerar says Cheers to Scotland’s Brewers -
With the growth of high quality micro-brewery products, Crerar Hotels has committed to increasing their range of Scottish made craft beers with supply from: Fyne Ales, Loch Fyne; Isle of Mull Brewing Company, Isle of Mull; The Inveralmond Brewery, Perth; The Black Isle Brewery, Ross-shire; and ST MUNGOS lager from Glasgow’s West Brewery.
One for the stairs!
Every Crerar Hotel stocks a minimum of 65 Scottish malt whiskies, and the group has now committed to matching that with high quality Scottish gin – Botanist from Isle of Islay, Gordon Castle Gin, North Berwick Gin, Glenwyvis Gin, Edinburgh Gin and Hendrick's, aswell as premium Scottish vodka.
Why is it important?
For Paddy there is a difference worth noting and it is very important to him that those in hospitality support those in Scottish food and drink. He quotes “Finding the edge on quality keeps us at the top of our game and gives our customers the best experience”.
Pat Purewal, Managing Director of Russell Hume, commented that they are “extremely pleased to be serving the business and look forward to supplying Scottish beef and lamb throughout the Scottish estate. We understand that quality is key to Paddy and are happy to be able to source local regional meat, game and poultry for his hotels.”
As a hotelier Paddy and his wife Sheila became farmers in 2010 forming “Lammermuir Luings” as a pedigree herd of Luing cattle. The plan was to get a guarantee of supply and price to the hotels. That idea underestimated the growth in popularity of the 12 Scottish Crerar Hotels which far outstripped the herd growth. As such, Paddy approached Russell Hume, known for their quality of product and service, to supply the hotels, which will amount in the region of 25 tonnes of prime steak (alone) annually. Pat continues that ‘We are obviously delighted that Paddy has chosen Russell Hume to supply Crerar Hotels both in Scotland and Yorkshire and fully support his ethos of supplying local produce to his guests.’
Paddy now knows first-hand that Scottish farmers put their animals first and take tremendous pride in their work. “We have to accept that what goes on at the farm is our business as much as it is the farmers. We, the Scottish hospitality industry, have a responsibility to support the people that, day in, day out, strive, often for pride alone, to nurture the very, very best produce in the world – how can we ignore that for the sake of cost? We have a duty to find ways to ensure our customers, as the end user, see and accept that only Scottish is good enough.”
“Crerar stands up for Scottish Fish & Shellfish”
Growing up in Oban, Paddy was one of many locals who watched the slow demise of Scottish caught fish landed at Oban Harbour made available to those closest to the pier head. The freight lorries grew in numbers with French and Spanish plates having driven through the night transporting the freshest prawns, crabs, and lobsters away to Mediterranean shores. The reality became, that Scottish chefs would be in receipt of deliveries from orders placed in Glasgow from lorries coming north passing the exports heading south.
A lot has changed and the best shellfish in the world is demanded on our menus and delivered with quality and frequency that 10 years ago was inconceivable. Even with that change it remained a frequent fight for the Crerar chefs to get the best of what the seas could deliver, through inconsistent supply lines with not any one supplier able to guarantee volume and service levels that a modern hospitality business needs. Finally, CHG has agreed key supply partner “Fish Brothers” a new Scottish firm owned and led by industry legend Stevie “Fish”.
Why is this different?
Fish by name and by nature!
What makes the difference for CHG with this partnership is Stevie “Fish” himself – he is on the boats as they land, selecting and sourcing the very best prices - the skippers know to be fair. If on the rare occasion that the fish being landed falls short of the chefs pre-given-spec, it’s Stevie’s call to reject the supply and to phone the chef, no matter the time of day, with alternative options that makes it work.
Stevie is "proud to be a key supplier to CHG and to share the true passion and enthusiasm with Paddy and his chefs for the very best of what Scotland's seas, lochs and rivers have to offer.”
Stevie says, “The range and quality of seafood sought by the chefs is of an extremely high standard and our challenge is to ensure premium quality, fair market prices and effective communication of provenance and traceability. We work closely together on a daily basis to achieve this. For example all langoustines supplied to CHG are creel caught using traditional methods in Loch Fyne, the mussels are rope grown in grade A waters on Loch Leven, and the haddock is hand filleted and sourced from sustainable North Sea stocks.”
"Our commitment to CHG is to always source the finest seasonal and sustainable seafood on a daily basis throughout Scotland."
Paddy continues, “I have known Stevie for a number of years and always liked the way he approached business – we were never a customer to him, we were always his partner but he had others to answer to. Now, with his own business firmly established, nothing will hold that approach and enthusiasm back.”
“In all the years I have known Stevie, I never realised that his second name was not “Fish” – I met “Mrs Fish” and was very politely and firmly corrected on that front….even now he is still Stevie Fish to me!”
Crerar Hotels invest in development of their Chefs and nurture talent; the combination of sourcing the best ingredients together with the dedicated kitchen brigades leads to a winning formula throughout the group.