The co-owner of an award-winning Scottish restaurant has vowed to keep fighting for the country’s food and drink industries after receiving an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours.
Shirley Spear, who owns The Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye with husband Eddie and chairs the Scottish Government’s Food Commission, was awarded the accolade for services to the food and drink industry in Scotland.
Speaking to SLTN, Spear said the OBE was “not just for me, it’s for everybody in this entire industry”. And she said she plans to “carry on with a kind of ambassadorial role” for the industry going forward.
“I think there’s a part to be played, and I really hope I can do it justice in the months ahead,” she said.
Set up last year by then cabinet secretary for rural affairs, food and the environment, Richard Lochhead, the Food Commission advises the Scottish Government on a wide range of food-related issues.
It now reports to Fergus Ewing, who has become cabinet secretary for rural economy and connectivity following the May Holyrood election.
Spear said she hopes the OBE will help to ensure the food and drink industry retains a high profile with Scottish ministers.
“We were slightly anxious (after the election), because food and drink seemed to be buried within the new remit for Fergus,” said Spear.
“The title has changed slightly. It’s now ‘rural economy.’ Food and drink is in there with them.
“But I hope that things like the OBE will help make sure food and drink doesn’t slip down the ladder of importance.
“All this publicity is helping to keep the whole idea of the importance of it at the fore.”
In addition to Spear, several members of the Scottish drinks industry were recognised in the birthday honours.
Dennis Malcolm, master distiller at Glen Grant, received an OBE for services to business and the Speyside community, while Brewdog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie were presented MBEs for services to the brewing industry.