The Taste of Scotland guide and awards ceremony are being ignored by top Scottish chefs who object to "paying to be included in a guide".
The awards, which are being held in Glasgow on 4 November, "don't have value", according to David Dempsey, head chef at the Gordon Ramsay-owned Amaryllis in Glasgow.
"I don't agree with paying to be included in a guide. Everybody knows that all of the people in Taste of Scotland have paid to be there," he said. "We will never pay to be in any guide and prefer to be listed on merit."
But according to Taste of Scotland chief executive, Amanda Clark, restaurants and hotels still have to meet a minimum standard. "We do reject some places that fail to make the grade," she added.
The problem Taste of Scotland - a restaurant accreditation scheme - faces is that few of the country's top restaurateurs are willing to participate. There is no Martin Wishart, no Amaryllis, no Chardon d'Or, Inverlochy Castle or Plumed Horse.
"You can't really claim to be a guide to the best places in Scotland without having these kind of places," Dempsey said.
Brian Maule, head chef at Chardon D'Or, who previously worked at Le Gavroche, added: "I don't believe in paying to get into a guide. If you have the quality and you've put in the effort, then you will get into the guidebooks and I can't justify paying any money for inclusion."
David Wilson, chef-proprietor of the Peat Inn and for the last five years a director of Taste of Scotland, said: "I would like to see this free to be in, but nobody is willing to put up the cash to fund the scheme. We can't even get VisitScotland to increase its funding of it."
by Colin Wright
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 17-23 October 2002