If you are not at the SECC Glasgow at some point between Monday 26 and Wednesday 28 February, you can kiss goodbye to one of the best opportunities you'll get this year to network and check out the trends north of the border.
ScotHot 2007, one of the most exciting business-to-business events in the region, is expected to attract 8,000 visitors and exhibitors. At the last event in 2005, 40% of attendees were senior management and visitors spent a whopping £2.3b.
As always, you can expect to rub shoulders with some of the leading lights in the Scottish hospitality scene. One of the highlights is the demo theatre, which runs every afternoon from 2pm. It kicks off on Monday 26 February with chef and food columnist Geoff Smeddle of the Peat Inn and runs through names such as Tom Kitchin of the Kitchin in Leith, Vijay Anand, executive chef at Patak's, and Tristan Farmer, head chef at Enverdale House Hotel among others.
Kick off with a party…
Book tickets for the 4th annual Scottish Hotels of the Year Awards night at the Crowne Plaza on Sunday 25 February. This is the opening event of ScotHot 2007 and the culmination of months of nominations, judging visits and voting by both consumers and the awards panel. To reserve tickets or a table, log on to www.scottishhotelsoftheyear.com Tickets are £75 - with funds going towards HIT Scotland.
Exhibition events include…
Scottish Culinary Championships
- Where: 4196/4840
- When: 26-28 February
Now in its 26th year, the Salon Culinaire attracts hundreds of entries across 50 competitions. For the first time there's a competition to be named Public Sector Chef of the Year, but ultimately everyone is battling to get into the heats for Knorr Scottish Chef of the Year 2008. Full listing of competitions on www.scothot.co.uk.
Knorr World Junior Culinary Grand Prix
- Where: Restaurant of Nations/Studio Kitchen
- When: 26-28 February
Nine international junior chef teams will be competing. Each day, three teams will prepare a three-course meal for the 50-cover, purpose-built Restaurant of Nations, where a three-course meal will cost £25 per person excluding wine - book now.
Scottish Food Scholarship
- Where: Live Competition Theatre
- When: 26 February, 5pm to 7.30pm
Aimed at Scottish chefs under the age of 25, this is the culmination of heats held through November and December - judged by seven of Scotland's Michelin-starred chefs. More details from www.scottishfoodscholarship.co.uk.
Another must-see for chefs is the Demo Theatre, where every afternoon chefs and food experts will be showcasing their talents - Tom Kitchin, Geoffrey Smeddle of the Peat Inn or Maxine Clark, Highland Game's chef. And on Tuesday there will be a Ready Steady Cook Hit Scotland charity cook-off.
UK Barista Championship
- Where: Wine Tasting Theatre
- When: 28 February
The Scottish heat will see 12 baristas battle it out to go to through to the UK final later in the year. That winner will then go forward to represent their country in the international championships. (A great opportunity to learn how to make the perfect cappuccino.)
HCIMA Small Business Focus
- Where: Seminar Theatre
- When: 26-28 February
There'll be practical advice and guidance on setting up and running a small business in the hospitality industry. Experts will deliver short presentations on topics such as marketing, finance, IT, recruitment and business planning.
Don't forget to visit…
Speciality Food & Drink Pavilion (location SP1-SP18) Over the three days there will be a plethora of food and drink exhibitors - including, of course, suppliers of regional and local delicacies.
The British Contract Furnishing Association Pavilion (location 4560) is making its debut at the show. Over the three days, it will showcase the best in small and leading-edge furniture design and allow architects, specifiers and interior designers to see the wide range of products and services available.
There's also a live bar (4660) run by the UK Bar Tenders Guild, where there will be a series of demonstrations, new techniques and advice every day. There will also be a cocktail competition on Monday and Tuesday morning.
And last but not least, Careers in Hospitality (4806) is a new section within ScotHot where professionals from leading hospitality companies will be available to discuss future opportunities within each organisation as well as tips on personal career development.
And last but not least…
Book a place at the 7th annual Spirit of Glasgow Restaurant Awards to be held on the evening of Tuesday 27 February. The awards cover six categories, including Casual Dining Award, Formal Dining Award and the Restaurant of the Year award. More details on www.bestglasgowrestaurants.com.
Monday 26 February, 10am to 5pm
Tuesday 27 February, 10am to 7pm
Wednesday 28 February, 10am to 4pm
Entry is free if you register in advance by logging on to www.scothot.co.uk or £15 on the door.
You need to present a business card on arrival.
Students need to make a prior arrangement with Springboard (www.springboarduk.org.uk) to visit the show.
- Exhibitor helpline: 020 7886 3066
- Fax: 020 7886 3031
WHERE TO DINE
If you're looking to sample the local delights while you're visiting ScotHot, we've drawn up a selection of 20 notable restaurants…
Abode Hotel Glasgow
129 Bath Street. 0141-221 6789
What the critics say: "Beautiful mallard duck was placed on top of a neat salad dressed with an agreeably assertive vinaigrette, while pan-fried duck liver and a stunning game hollandaise added velvety richness. Partridge came with another exquisite sauce, this time made from blousy Gewürtztraminer wine." Joanna Blythman, www.s1now.com
Brian Maule at the Chardon d'Or
176 West Regent Street. 0141-248 3081
What the critics say: "Attentive, friendly service adds to the relaxed ambience of this restaurant. Deceptively simple dishes include chicken, foie gras and chorizo roulade with beetroot salad, suprême of duck with creamed celeriac, port and redcurrant jelly jus." 2007 AA Restaurant Guide
64 Albion Street. 0141-552 6813
What the critics say: "Light meals such as black pudding with mushrooms and pancakes, or bacon and avocado salad with warm vinaigrette are prepared with best-quality ingredients. Daily specials make for more substantial choices and include organic chicken breast in a tomato and vegetable sauce with roast potatoes." The List 2006
Princes Square. 0141-225 5630
What the critics say: "Each dish on the French-inspired menu is beautifully presented, with subtle and interesting combinations of skilfully prepared ingredients. The "epicurean" menu is the best evening dining option, and more indulgent still with wines by the glass." The List 2006
652 Argyle Street. 0141-221 8188
What the critics says: "The kitchen's modern approach deals in quality ingredients from the abundant Scottish larder, with appropriately refined dishes showcasing clean, clear flavours. Think of a daube of Blairgowrie beef with parsnip mash, roasted root vegetables and pan juices, and an apple and vanilla panna cotta crumble finish, served with rhubarb consommé." 2007 AA Restaurant Guide
225a West George Street. 0141-572 0899
What the critics say: "Gamba is a demure haven reached by descending a steep staircase from West George Street. The menu has a South-east Asian vibe, a sashimi starter offering coils of firm salmon and swordfish, furled like a rose, enlivened by fiery wasabi paste and soya dip. Among the main courses, plump prawns and sharp artichokes support a springy wedge of halibut in a sticky citrus sauce." The List
Hotel du Vin & Bistro and One Devonshire Gardens
1 Devonshire Gardens
What the critics say: "My main course was stellar. Although madly over-presented on a narrow rectangular plate (I'm thinking of launching a campaign to stop chefs using comedy crockery) this sautéd tranche of wild halibut (£19.95) initially struck me as looking far, far too fancy for a bistro. Yet the fish was beautifully cooked, and the accompanying elements of spinach purée, anchovy dressing and wafer-thin potato galette made this a dish that truly exceeded expectation." John Davidson, the Scotsman
Ho Wong Restaurant
82 York Street
What the critics say: "There's quite a buzz to this popular street-level restaurant close to the city centre. Fish dishes are a real highlight on this sophisticated traditional Cantonese-style menu. If you want to push the boat out, try some fresh lobster." 2007 AA Restaurant Guide
Kail Yard Green
599 Dumbarton Road, West End
What the critics say: "The menu offers a degree of refinement and a Continental style with a few adventurous touches. Salt and pepper squid is lightly cooked but some may find the batter has been over-salted. When recipes work, however, they seem inspired." The List 2006
2 Port Dundas Place
What the critics say: "The cooking is modern Scottish using the finest local ingredients whenever possible. An intensely delicious fillet of turbot with langoustine ravioli or fillet of Speyside beef, with a mini cottage pie and dauphinoise potato epitomise the menu's riches." 2007 AA Restaurant Guide
1051 Great Western Road
What the critics say: "Dishes offer unusual combinations of ingredients cooked with obvious technical skill - grilled baby black pudding salad with thyme and strawberry dressing, for example, or Indian sweet potato risotto with hot onion compote." 2007 AA Restaurant Guide
28 Westminster Terrace, Sauchiehall Street, West End
What the critics say: "Delhi-style lamb is laced with yogurt, married with peppers and whole tomatoes, while king prawn karahi has a generous portion of tender, piquant prawns in a lime and chilli pickle. This is arguably the mother of all Indian restaurants in Glasgow, with a fearsome reputation among curry aficionados." The List 2006
202 West George Street
What the critics say: "The cooking style is modern Scottish with international influences, producing succinct flavours and using only the finest ingredients. The emphasis on seasonality is impressive and the use of local produce is evident in dishes such as roast fillet of Perthshire venison with confit root vegetables and dark chocolate sauce." 2007 AA Restaurant Guide
11 Exchange Place
What the critics say: "The menu always emphasises seafood, such as halibut in Champagne-and-oyster sauce or lobster thermidor. While these are traditional if possibly old-fashioned recipes, they have their fans: people who would not dream of having scallops done any other way than in a creamy cheese sauce." Frommer's
1a Ashwood Gardens, 512 Crow Road, West End
What the critics say: "Typical dishes include peat-smoked haddock in a creamy Mornay sauce with a pert poached egg on top, or silky chowder chock-full of mussels and juicy chunks of fish. If the thought of paying nearly £6 for a cheesecake brings tears to the eyes, its formidable lusciousness will sweeten the blow." The List
Smiths of Glasgow
109 Candleriggs, Merchant City
What the critics say: "You might think a Scottish/French restaurant would be an odd mix, but Smith's of Glasgow has got it just right. They have a wide menu including both modern Scottish and French cuisine. They even have a good choice for vegetarians, too." Ciao!
30 Gibson Street
What the critics say: "The food is imaginative with unusual and exciting fusion pappardelle with shredded confit rabbit, roast walnut and Parmesan cream, followed by braised lamb shoulder stuffed with ricotta, figs and sage." 2007 AA Restaurant Guide
Two Fat Ladies
118a Blytheswood Street
What the critics say: "The menu is composed of simple, harmonious dishes drawing on seasonal produce, with fish often sourced from the West Coast. A small shellfish section offers luxurious mussel, prawn and scallop dishes as starter or main-course portions. The popular fish platter changes daily and might offer a selection of salmon, sea bass and red snapper." The List 2006
12 Ashton Lane
What the critics say: "An extensive redevelopment has added a new mezzanine level overlooking the tables and foliage below, and there's also a more formal dining room, and a cheaper brasserie upstairs. The cooking doesn't disappoint - it brings together top-notch produce in bold combinations that intrigue as much on the plate as on the menu." 2007 AA Restaurant Guide
61 Kilmarnock Road, Southside
What the critics say: "Three large cutlets of pink, juicy well-flavoured lamb came with a scoop of buttery mash made from some intrinsically flavoursome potato variety and crunchy green beans wrapped in assertively smoked bacon. The sauce was sweetish and minty, but likeably so. A side order of stir-fried greens came agreeably blackened and perfumed with the aroma of a well-seasoned wok." Joanna Blythman, www.s1now.com