Like many food lovers, Brenda Anderson has lasting memories of the dishes her mother cooked and the smells that filled the house. When she was little, Brenda didn’t cook with her mother or grandmother, but her passion for food appeared gradually, and took up more and more focus in her life. Brenda also had a deep desire to teach and share her skills and experiences, transmit her passion, and help students with their projects.
After her studies, Brenda decided to enrich herself professionally and personally by working in the hotel and restaurant industry, where she worked for 20 years, in both Scotland and Australia. She held different positions, in the front of the house and also as a sommelier, but her love for cooking always caught up with her. As a true representative of Scottish gastronomy and strengthened by her experiences abroad, Brenda decided to found Tasting Scotland to introduce tourists to a more authentic Scotland, and to help small producers, artisans, and restaurateurs to become better known. Always with this desire to share, one of the main objectives of her company is to facilitate the meeting between tourists and producers. The idea is also to discover Scotland through gastronomy. In fact, Scotland is made up of 85% of cultivated land and natural landscapes, and going to meet a breeder, a fisherman, a brewer, etc., after a long walk in the middle of nature is a reward that strongly (and positively) impacts the tourist experience.
It was a bit by chance that Brenda discovered the WFTA in 2014, looking for documentation to support Tasting Scotland’s marketing strategy. Now an Ambassador for the association, her main goal is to raise awareness of the WFTA in Scotland and encourage people to get involved in the development of gastronomy tourism in Scotland. Convinced by the products offered by the Association, such as training for Food & Beverage professionals, as well as by the many research studies that is has published, Brenda was able to manage her business with peace of mind. The monthly exchanges with other ambassadors around the world are also an opportunity to keep abreast of changes relating to culinary travel demand and supply, varying national customs, and therefore to adapt and renew her marketing campaigns.
While Scotland is mainly renowned for its whiskies and suffers from clichés around junk food (such as the fried Mars bar), Brenda wants to use Tasting Scotland to promote Scottish cuisine. Thanks to the country’s location and climate, Scotland’s food products are actually very healthy and of high quality, and Scotland has huge potential in terms of gastronomy tourism. It is not for nothing that already in 2010 the WFTA declared that “Scotland is one of the most unique, memorable and interesting places for food and drink in the world” (2010, State of the Industry Report).
One of the keys to changing this image would be to obtain the Culinary Capitals Certification, issued by the WFTA. Certain criteria must be met and this would oblige all actors, both public and private, to invest in the development of quality and sustainable gastronomy tourism. Tasting Scotland is trying, on its own scale, to change mentalities. In particular, it relies on WFTA certifications, such as the Culinary Tourist Guide Certification to guarantee the quality of its culinary tours.
Brenda says, “there’s no better way to understand a country than to understand its gastronomy.” And if that sounds good to you and you are concerned about trying authentic culinary experiences, and sharing with producers, whoever they are, come and visit Scotland! Brenda and her team will be happy to welcome you and introduce you to the best opportunities!