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Fresh talent's culinary creation to grace Inverness Castle menu

By Staff Reporter

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Inverness Castle locator. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Inverness Castle locator. Picture: James Mackenzie.

Food fans from around the world may soon be tucking into the culinary creation of a talented Highland student at one of the region's iconic landmarks.

For a new initiative aimed at high school and university students is on the lookout for a tasty treat to tantalise tourists' taste buds as part of Inverness Castle's official menu when it opens to the public in 2025.

Students and pupils are being asked to think about a special recipe, describe how they would prepare it, what makes it special, and why it should be nominated to be part of the official menu in the restaurant at the Inverness Castle Experience when it opens as a visitor attraction.

‘Highland Hospitality: Tales from around the table’ is designed to engage high school and University students involved in hospitality, catering, and tourism throughout the Highlands.

Hopefuls have until March 29 to submit their culinary inspiration for consideration, with the winner being chosen by a pane of food and beverage enthusiasts.

And those behind the project believe it will give a real leg up to the deserving winner – while also helping to celebrate the diversity of recipes and stories across the Highlands.

Cllr Ian Brown, leader of Inverness city and area and co-chair of the Inverness Castle delivery group, said: “I am thrilled that 'Highland Hospitality: Tales from around the Table' has been launched today, allowing students and pupils the opportunity to contribute to shaping the gastronomic identity of this upcoming landmark attraction in Inverness. I look forward to seeing, what I am sure will be, a diverse array of recipes and the stories students and pupils come up with from across the Highlands.”

Cllr John Finlayson, chairman of Highland Council’s education committee, added: “I am sure there will be some very different dishes recommended from different parts of the region. It is important that Inverness Castle Experience reflects the diversity of the Highlands, and this is a fantastic project to support this ethos.”

The project's launch is being brought to life, with the assistance of Ró a high school student from Inverness, in a social media campaign which invites fellow students to participate in the project. In the video, Ró explains that there are no limitations to the type of food that can be submitted – ranging from a simple biscuit to a ‘MasterChef’ level dish, and anything in between!

The online project worksheet can be accessed from a dedicated web page, at https://invernesscastle.scot/highland-hospitality-tales-from-around-the-table where recipes can be submitted, along with supporting links and the story behind it.

Mark Tate, chairman of High Life Highland’s charity board, said: “Food gives people a sense of belonging and with this nostalgic competition, we hope everyone is inspired to have fun and get creative. It is also a fantastic opportunity for our colleagues to work closely with faculty partners, industry professionals and students and pupils from across the Highlands.”

“Food is more than just sustenance, it is spending time with those that mean the most to you, hearing stories and sharing laughs. Being able to share personal stories through food is something we can all relate to – I can't wait to get a peek at the recipes that are submitted.”

Dr Iain Morrison, University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Dean of Student Experience commented: “This creative, inclusive, and empowering project is illustrative of the highly engaged way the Inverness Castle Experience is being developed; to celebrate our region and to give a voice to as many people in our communities as possible. In this case, not only will our students be able to suggest recipes and have them prepared for visitors, but also have the reasons why they find the dishes so meaningful incorporated as part of the attraction. I’d be suggesting my granny’s legendary shortbread recipe but let’s hear your ideas, UHI students!”

The Inverness Castle Experience project, opening in 2025, will benefit from £30 million investment to support its redevelopment from the Scottish and UK governments, Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and a range of other partners.

The Inverness Castle project is part of the £315 million Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, which is supported by the UK and Scottish governments, Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands, and is aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.

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