A CHAIN of Indian restaurants has revealed it will commit to sourcing its meat
and vegetable supplies from Scotland, a move which is expected to pump £500,000 a year into local producers and growers.
Riaz Mohammed, director of Khushi’s restaurants in Edinburgh and Dunfermline and high-end Asian eatery Mithas, has signed a deal with East Lothian-based organic farm business, Phantassie, and is working on a deal to source hot chillies from a company in Fife.
Mohammed, who runs the family-owned restaurant chain along with his brother Islam, estimates that the group will spend about £100,000 a year on vegetables and £250,000 a year on red meat alone, with expenditure on Scottish produce averaging £500,000 per year.
“The reason for doing this is to get involved with the local community.
“Khushi’s has been around as a brand for many years now and now we have Mithas, which is a fine dining venture.
“As a family we are trying to give something back to Scotland, trying to source all our products locally and to do so responsibly.
“Rather than just looking at outright profit, we are now thinking that is a short-term gain, not a long-term future. All the produce we use we are now actively looking to source locally.
Phanstassie is one source, but also our supply of meat and chicken.”
Much of the produce will go to Mithas, which is understood to have been shortlisted for its first Michelin star.
The family opened the upscale restaurant last year and has since been picking up numerous awards, having lured some top Indian chefs from restaurants in London, including the prestigious Cinnamon Club.
The brothers are following the example of top UK chefs such as Tom Kitchin, who base their cuisine on local and seasonal products.
But this is thought to be a first for the ethic cuisine sector, which until now has tended to focus on the authenticity of ingredients, especially herbs and spices, rather than where they come from.
Mohammed admits that his restaurants won’t be able to source all supplies from Scotland all of the time – the company will still have to source spinach from Spain for its
saag aloo over the winter, for example.
“The amount of money we will be putting back into the local community is considerable.”
He said that sourcing locally would push up the restaurants’ costs but that the effect of this “won’t be too bad”.
“We also get to cut out the middle man - but what we are trying to do is support other businesses. We give them custom and they give us custom.”
Chillilicious, Scotland’s only chilli farm, will treble production this year on the back of demand from Khushi’s as well as from other companies.
Started by mother and daughter team Tricia and Stacey Galfskiy in 2011, demand for chilli has “far exceeded” their expectations.
The growers expect to have three “polytunnels” up and running by the end of the year after enquiries started pouring in.
Daughter Stacey said: “We started being approached by local business owners
in March this year, asking about the possibility of supplying fresh chillies for them.
It was then that I realised what a fantastic opportunity our chilli farm is, not only for us, but for other SMEs, and I knew we had to expand to allow these exciting collaborations to take place.”
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Source: the scotsman
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