Over 30 years, Peebles-born Shirley Spear has turned her Three Chimneys Restaurant on Skye into a world famous culinary destination.
And at this year’s Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival, held in June in Melrose, she will be one of the stars as the event embraces The Year of Food & Drink 2015, with a whole new venue and a gastronomic programme of events.
“I was born in Peebles in the years when food and drink was very local and family meals were simple, nourishing and wholesome”Shirley Spear
In the Eat Your Words Marquee, within a new tented village in The Orchard opposite Harmony House, Spear will join a host of other household names from the world of food and drink, including cooks and food writers Sue Lawrence, Prue Leith and wine guru Nikki Welch.
Spear, newly appointed as chair of the Scottish Food Commission, will be talking about the changes in Scotland’s restaurants and eating habits she has witnessed after running the Michelin-starred Three Chimneys Restaurant over three decades.
On her impending visit to the festival, she told The Southern: “I was born in Peebles in the years when food and drink was very local and family meals were simple, nourishing and wholesome.
“I love my Borders heritage and I love that the Borders is inextricably linked with Scotland’s amazing culinary heritage.
“This is immense, but so often overlooked. Times have changed dramatically in recent years, with so much more encouragement for promoting the best of Scottish food and drink.
“I love to see the results of this lifelong ambition of mine, to see Scotland directly associated worldwide as serving the very best of ingredients from its outstanding natural larder. The only way forward is up!”
Other highlights will include afternoon tea with Lawrence, one of Scotland’s favourite food writers and cooks, including cakes from her bestselling cook book Scottish Baking.
Leith, who changed the face of British catering and built a business empire and is now a successful novelist, will be talking about her life and work.
And wine expert Welch’s WineTubeMap will take festival-goers on a journey around the over-complicated world of wine.
Lawrence is looking forward to returning to the festival: “We are having an afternoon tea with recipes from my ‘Scottish Baking’ and discussing baking in all its floury wonder.
“Then we will be moving on to discussing my novel, Fields of Blue Flax, a genealogical mystery set in Edinburgh and Angus. And yes, of course there is food involved in the plot!”
And to add to the festival atmosphere there will be live music events of jazz, Americana and swing throughout the weekend, presented in association with the Galashiels-based MacArts Centre.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy the Born in the Borders Street Market on St Mary’s Road, which connects the new site to Harmony Gardens and offering the best in local, fresh produce for sale in a colourful covered market.
The Orde Café will provide delicious tea/ coffee and cakes, whilst a fabulous new bar, The Book Bar, will offer a selection of Borders beers, gin and tonics or simply a chilled glass of bubbles. The Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival is supported as part of the Year of Food and Drink 2015, delivered by EventScotland and VisitScotland.
l Box Office: 0844 357 1060 www.bordersbookfestival.org