Our Take on the Awards Season – Celebrating the Best in Scottish Hospitality


We’ve had the pleasure of sponsoring two top hospitality awards events in recent months and it’s left us feeling particularly proud of the quality and achievements of our industry here in Scotland. What’s struck us, is the calibre of people working to make the economy in Scotland better. From the hosting of the events, the quality of the produce and the creativity of the dishes at both awards – we saw truly world class talent, and we are humbled to be part of this industry.

As Simon recalls: “The Catering Industry is hugely important to the Scottish economy. The hours are challenging and the pressures demanding. It’s enjoyable to celebrate the efforts and appreciate the commitment that the nominees and attendees have put in as they continue to drive the success of our sector with their vital contributions.”

Congratulations to every one of the nominees and winners whose contribution to the sector has been phenomenal. Here’s our take on some of the highlights from the events…


The Scottish Hotel Awards

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Hosted at Crowne Plaza Glasgow on April 23rd, the 14th annual awards saw over 400 guests attend a lavish ceremony in which 19 national winners were honoured for their personal contribution to the hospitality industry including Stuart Chapman from Blythswood Square for Restaurant Manager, Francisco Duarte from Old Town Chambers and Alan McLaughlan of Loch Lomond Arms for Executive Chef of the Year.


We sponsored the Food and Beverage Category of the People Awards and our Managing Director Chris Black was on hand to present around half a dozen awards to the deserving winners. A personal highlight for Chris was meeting the talented host Carol Smillie.


The CIS Excellence Awards

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This time we celebrated at The Hilton, where the Hilton’s Executive Chef Derek Donaldson served up a memorable spread highlighting the finest Scottish produce. There were too many worthy winners to list them all, but our MD Chris Black singled out Masterchef winner Gary Maclean, who picked up an award, describing him as “a really nice guy” as well as hailing the genius of “Scottish legend” Andrew Fairlie, patron of his two Michelin starred restaurant at Gleneagles and recipient of a lifetime achievement award. (“My old boss Roddie Watt’s band were also excellent” notes Chris, praising the entertainment that was laid on).


Ellis Mack Pop-Up Bar on Tour

ellis mack cocktail

For both these events, we had the pleasure of rolling out the Ellis Mack Pop-Up Bar once again. This is the second year we’ve hosted the bar in collaboration with Liquid Academy and we were delighted to see it was such a success yet again. Liquid Academy surpassed themselves with perfectly designed bespoke cocktails for each of the ceremonies – Heartlands for the Scottish Hotel Awards and Time and Tide and Red Aphrodite for the CIS Excellence Awards – each with the key ingredient of Rock Rose gin.

We tried to open the bar as early as we could but the event organisers weren’t keen on us serving free drinks before the awards section had finished….probably sensible given how moreish they were and how quickly our stocks emptied! The drinks were designed by Michael Cameron, Liquid Academy Drinks Innovation Manager, who said:

“The briefs we’ve received from Ellis Mack and Catering Scotland have challenged us to push the boundaries of flavour and texture, to walk the line between elevation and real accessibility, to question exactly what buzzwords like ‘sustainability’ and ‘seasonality’ can bring to the table.  Watching the drinks meet the public at these events is the single greatest part of my job.”

If you didn’t catch one on the night and you’d like to try your mixology skills, you’ll find the recipe for both cocktails in among our blog posts!


All told, both events, CIS especially, really showed off the entrepreneurial spirit that’s alive in this country. And we were impressed to see the technology sector making an impact in hospitality with a win for Kafoodle, an app that helps you find your perfect meal, be that to cater for allergies, intolerances or just healthy eating.  Not only was this a great addition to the night, we loved meeting the Kafoodle team who were first to take part in our photo prie giveaway!

Stayed tuned for the winners who will receive some first class food mastery from Kained Holdings.