Snails set the pace in Scotland’s top hospitality awards

Fred Berkmiller, Chef Patron of Edinburgh restaurants L’Escargot Blanc and L’Escargot Bleu, is up for a double success at this year’s Catering Scotland Excellence (CIS) Awards.

With Berkmiller himself shortlisted for the Chef of the Year title for a second time, his L’Escargot Blanc (The White Snail) establishment in the capital’s Queensferry Street is one of three finalists in the Restaurant of the Year category, alongside Glasgow’s Gamba and Shirley Spear’s Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye. His other restaurant, L’Escargot Bleu (The Blue Snail) is in the capital’s Broughton Street.

Other contenders for Chef of the Year include: Billy Boyter, who reopened The Cellar at Anstruther in 2014; Brian Grigor of The Balmoral; previous winner Geoffrey Smeddle of the Michelin-starred Peat Inn at St Andrews; and 2017 finalist Paul Wedgwood of Wedgwood The Restaurant on the capital’s Royal Mile.

Meanwhile, The Cellar’s Conor McLean, a member of the Scottish Culinary Olympics team, is one of three finalists in the Young Chef category, together with Craig Palmer of the Marcliffe Hotel and Spa in Aberdeen and Kevin McCafferty from City of Glasgow College.

Shortlisted in the particularly competitive Independent Hotel of the Year category are: The Douglas Hotel on the Isle of Arran, Dunstane Houses in Edinburgh and the Lovat Loch Ness, which is built on the site of a Hanoverian fort built to pacify the Highland clans after the 18th century Jacobite uprisings.

The Group Hotel of the Year Award will be contested by the Doubletree by Hilton Glasgow Central, Sonas Hotels’ Skeabost House, near Portree on Skye, and The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian.

The nautical-themed Nobles Café Bar and Restaurant in Leith is shortlisted for the Pub Excellence Award where it is up against Rabble Taphouse and Grill in Edinburgh’s Frederick Street and the city’s Scran and Scallie.

As the country’s annual contest for the hospitality, catering and tourism sectors, the CIS Excellence Awards are widely accepted as the ultimate accolade for chefs, hotels, restaurants, gastropubs and educational institutions. In this, their 15th anniversary, they will be presented at the Doubletree by Hilton Glasgow Central on Thursday 31st May.

For more information on the shortlist of finalists or to book a place at the event, call 0131 557 5767 or visit

The 2018 CIS Excellence Awards, in partnership with

The Shortlist in Full

Employee of the Year Award, sponsored by Fresh Food Company
Due to holidays and entrants’ availability for interview, the shortlist for this category will be announced w/c 30th April

The Sustainable Business Award, sponsored by Green Tourism and Seafood Scotland
  • BaxterStorey Scotland
  • Hickory, Edinburgh
  • The Scottish Café & Restaurant, Edinburgh
The Business Innovation Award, co-sponsored by Sodexo *This award is available for co-sponsorship*
  • Chefs Eye Tech
  • The Scottish Salmon Company, Edinburgh
  • Shepherd Filters UK
The Healthier Scotland Award, sponsored by the healthyliving award, in association with NHS Health Scotland
  • Aramark @ Aegon
  • Buchanan Bistro, Aberdeenshire
  • ESS Offshore Food and Nutrition Team
The Training and Employee Retention Award, sponsored by
  • Auchrannie Leisure Ltd, Isle of Arran
  • City of Glasgow College / CAL MAC Hospitality Apprenticeship
  • North Lanarkshire Council
The Pub Excellence Award, sponsored by KraftHeinz Foodservice
  • Nobles Café Bar & Restaurant, Edinburgh
  • Rabble Taphouse & Grill, Edinburgh
  • Scran and Scallie, Edinburgh
The Banqueting and Events Chef Award, co-sponsored by ASA Recruitment and Tilda
  • Scott Brodowski, Hickory, Edinburgh
  • Brian Canale, Heritage Portfolio, Edinburgh
  • Andrew Laycock, Wilde Thyme Catering, Perthshire
  • Ann Milne, Hudsons Catering, Aberdeen
The Restaurant Newcomer of the Year Award, sponsored by Kafoodle
  • Colonnades at the Signet Library, Edinburgh
  • The Spanish Butcher, Glasgow
  • Sugar Boat, Helensburgh
The Food Tourism Award, sponsored by BidFood Scotland
  • Ballintaggart Farm, Pitlochry, Perthshire
  • Eat on the Green, Ellon, Aberdeenshire
  • Salar Smokehouse Ltd, South Uist
The Hospitality Educator of the Year Award, sponsored by CH&Co Group
  • Tony Budde, Dumfries and Galloway College
  • Kenneth Hett, City of Glasgow College
  • Vicki Munro, SRUC Elmwood College
The Independent Hotel of the Year Award, co-sponsored by Bruce Stevenson Insurance and the Royal Bank of Scotland
  • The Douglas Hotel, Isle of Arran
  • The Dunstane Houses, Edinburgh
  • The Lovat Loch Ness, Fort Augustus
The Patisserie Chef of the Year Award, sponsored by Callebaut
  • Stephen Espouy, The Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh
  • Gary Millard, Colonnades at the Signet Library, Edinburgh
The Group Hotel of the Year Award, co-sponsored by Instock *This award is available for co-sponsorship*
  • Doubletree by Hilton Glasgow Central
  • Skeabost House Hotel, Isle of Skye
  • Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian
The Young Chef of the Year Award, sponsored by Brakes Scotland
  • Craig Palmer, Marcliffe Hotel and Spa, Aberdeen
  • Kevin McCafferty, City of Glasgow College
  • Conor McLean, The Cellar, Anstruther
The Restaurant of the Year Award, co-sponsored by Aramark and Olleco
  • Gamba, Glasgow
  • L’Escargot Blanc , Edinburgh
  • The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye
The Chef of the Year Award, sponsored by BaxterStorey Scotland
  • Fred Berkmiller, L’Escargot Restaurants, Edinburgh
  • Billy Boyter, The Cellar Restaurant, Anstruther
  • Brian Grigor, The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh
  • Geoffrey Smeddle, The Peat Inn, St Andrews
  • Paul Wedgwood, Wedgwood The Restaurant, Edinburgh
The Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Braehead Foods
The winner of this award will be announced and awarded at the awards ceremony on the evening of 31st May.

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