A Borders business is making the most of Scotland’s great food and drink, by targeting tourists for its cook school enterprise.
Realising that foreign visitors might want to do more than just eat the best of Scotland’s larder, Michael Muir of ‘thecookschool.com’, based near Broughton, is looking across the globe for his next cookery students.
And to help realise his expansion plan, Michael is working with Business Gateway Scottish Borders.
He said: “I approached Business Gateway when I decided to expand the business and my business adviser Wilma and her colleague Chris, a specialist food and drink adviser, both spent some time helping me formulate a plan to take the business forward and identify target markets abroad.”
With a background of working in some of the finest hotels in the country, including Gleneagles and The Balmoral Hotel, Michael established his catering company Cooks and Co 20 years ago, before adding the cookery school to the business in 2008.
Rachael McQuaid, who was a pastry chef at a two-Michelin star London restaurant, works alongside Michael in offering cookery courses which cover a wide selection of culinary themes.
Michael said: “When setting up the cookery school we didn’t want it to feel formal like a home economics classroom, but somewhere where people would feel comfortable.
“We based it on a Tuscan or French Provencal kitchen where we all work around a big island.”
Plans for expansion include targeting ‘food tourists’ in Spain and Italy who are looking for a real Scottish foodie experience. Providing luxury accommodation on their farm base, including a spa experience and in-house restaurant are also part of the longer term strategy.
“We go to Tuscany for Italian cookery schools and I think it would work the other way around,” said Michael.
“Here, we have so much to offer – from beautiful scenery to great produce and, of course, our unique history.
“The plan is to target tourists before they come to Scotland, which I’m working on at the moment, and I’m looking forward to growing the business and seeing what the future holds for us.”