Top Scottish chefs back bid to bring back traditional salt harvesting to the East Neuk of Fife

A group of leading Scottish chefs is backing a campaign to revive one of the oldest food industries in Scotland.

Thursday, 15th October 2020, 4:30 pm
Support: Chef Billy Boyter of The Cellar in Antruther is backing the campaign
Support: Chef Billy Boyter of The Cellar in Antruther is backing the campaign

A host of leading Scottish chefs have backed a funding bid by the East Neuk Salt Company to bring sea salt harvesting back to the East Neuk, restoring one of Fife's historic industries.

Billy Boyter, owner and Michelin star chef at The Cellar in Anstruther is amongst those who are supporting St Monan’s local Darren Peattie to realise his vision of bringing sea salt harvesting back to the region and celebrate the heritage of a once thriving industry.

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He said; “The quality of salt we have tried from the East Neuk Salt Company is simply fantastic and we are really looking forward to them getting up and running in earnest.

Backing: Ruth Robinson of Pittenweem's Dory Bistro and Gallery is supporting Darren

To have a such a premium product accessible locally is an amazing thing and helps us tell our own story as well of focusing on seasonal Scottish produce and locally foraged ingredients from our coastline and countryside.”

Scottish celebrity chef and restaurateur Tony Singh MBE is also backing the campaign. He said; “I’m delighted to see Darren working so hard to realise his vision of bringing sea salt harvesting back to the East Neuk, restoring one of Fife's historic industries and creating a product of exceptional quality which will be at the heart of the local community."

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In-depth interview with East Neuk Salt’s Darren Peattie

Ruth Robinson, owner manager at the Dory Bistro and Gallery in Pittenweem has been using salt from the East Neuk Salt Company to create their signature East Neuk Salt bagels. She commented; “It’s a delight to be able to use locally sourced ingredients of such exceptional quality and this aligns perfectly with our ethos of creating really delicious fresh food using our local larder.”

Darren Peattie, whose family has lived in the area for over 200 years, established the East Neuk Salt Company 14 months ago. A crowdfunding campaign has been launched at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/ensc to raise £28,450 which will allow the business to acquire the final pieces of equipment needed to produce salt at scale, including a 2500 litre Vacuum Evaporator and Crystalliser beds.

The St Monans-based business will be one of the only hand-harvested producers of gourmet sea salt on mainland Scotland and will produce up to two tonnes of hand harvested salt per month when production is up and running.

The crowdfunder currently sits at almost £17,000 and Darren is hopeful that the support of the local community and a number high profile chefs will help them reach their target by 19 October.

He said; “Our vision is to be one of the most innovative sea salt harvesting companies in Scotland, with sustainability and zero waste at the heart of our operation. The by-products of salt harvesting can be used to make drinking water and ice, as well as being used in the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries.”

The East Neuk Salt Company is projected to have a six figure turnover by the end of year one and growth plans include a cook school and education programme alongside salt harvesting, creating around 20 jobs.

The crowdfunder closes on October 19 2020.