Ready for take-off - first Scottish airport in line for major food award

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Scott's Blog

Ready for take-off - first Scottish airport in line for major food award

For the first time an airport has been shortlisted for one of Scotland’s major food awards.

Judges of the prestigious Catering Scotland (CIS) Excellence Awards have named the Northern Lights Lounge at Aberdeen International Airport as one of three final-ists in the Food Tourism Category.

Opened in July 2017 as part of a £20m terminal expansion, the lounge offers pano-ramic runway views and provides a wide range of food and drink - much of it sourced from the local area - seven days a week. Guests are charged £27 per adult and £15 for children, and can stay a maximum of three hours.

Andrea Nicholas, Managing Director of Green Tourism and chair of the CIS Awards Advisory Board, said: “In recent years, the standard of food and service at Scot-land’s main airports has improved substantially. Aberdeen’s shortlisting reflects a very welcome trend for travellers, including the millions of tourists who arrive in our country each year.”

Local suppliers and supporters include international craft beer company Brew Dog based in nearby Ellon, and The Bay fish and chip shop on the beach at Stonehaven. Craig Wilson, former Cromlix House head chef-turned-chef-proprietor of the CIS Food Tourism Award-winning Eat on the Green at Ellon, is an adviser.

The outlet’s celebrated ‘Whisky Wall’ boasts more than 100 Scotch malt whiskies - including the airport’s own brand matured in sherry casks from the local Glen Gari-och distillery - and 30 local gins.

Steve Szalay, Managing Director, Aberdeen International Airport, commented: “The Northern Lights Lounge has been a real success story. We’re proud to serve the very best of Aberdeenshire’s food and drink, creating a sense of place within the terminal. To be a finalist among such renowned venues is incredible.”

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland Regional Director, added: “This is a terrific achievement and especially exciting to see the airport's focus on local food and drink recognised in this way. Two thirds of visitors say food is important when choosing a holiday destination and almost half plan to try local cuisine."

Other finalists in the Food Tourism category are Rufflets Hotel in St Andrews and the Cannonball Restaurant and Bar in Edinburgh, owned by past CIS Excellence winners Victor and Carina Contini who also run the cafe and restaurant inside the Scottish National Gallery in the capital

As the country’s annual contest for the hospitality, catering and tourism sectors, the CIS Excellence Awards are widely accepted as the ultimate national accolade for chefs, hotels, restaurants, gastropubs and educational institutions.

Organisers say this year’s shortlists are the most diverse in the Awards’ 15-year history. Winners of the 17 categories will be announced at a dinner in Glasgow on 30 May attended by over 500 of Scotland’s hospitality leaders.