It was recently announced that Sarah Heward, founder and co-owner of The Real Food Café in Tyndrum has been appointed as one of Scotland Food & Drink’s 25 Regional Tourism Ambassadors. She will represent her region as part of a new programme which will place food and drink at the heart of the recovery of Scotland’s tourism. Each ambassador will represent a different part of Scotland’s diverse food landscape and will each play a key part in raising Scotland’s profile as a global food tourism destination.
In 2005 Sarah gave up her job as managing director of wine bar and merchants, Corney & Barrow in the City of London and quit the rat-race to pursue her dream of opening her own business. She opened The Real Food Café, transforming a derelict Little Chef into an award-winning roadside diner. Famous for its fish and chips and home baking, the cafe serves over 250,000 customers per year. She currently chairs the Tyndrum Infrastructure Group, whose goal is to improve rural infrastructure in Tyndrum and beyond. Recently, she featured in VisitScotland’s responsible tourism advertising campaign, promoting local food and drink.
“With over 200 applicants for the 25 ambassador places, I am absolutely delighted to have been selected to represent Stirling and Forth Valley. The café has constantly evolved over the years to cater for international and home-grown tourists alike. We’ve had our menus translated into Mandarin, added electric car charging points and ensure our staff are trained to the highest level of customer service. I have always been an advocate of tourism and I am really looking forward to helping promote Scotland’s food and drink tourism scene to a global audience”.
The ambassadors themselves will provide a much-needed boost to their regions during what has been an acutely challenging time for Scotland’s food and drink and tourism sectors and bring producers, suppliers and hospitality businesses much closer together to grow local economies.
Bringing Scotland’s destinations and food & drink to life through storytelling will be central to the role of the ambassadors in the lead up to Scotland’s ‘Year of Stories’ themed year for 2022, with each of them shining a light on our regions as food destinations of choice, with their own unique provenance, people and stories which in turn create the quality, authentic food and destination experience which today’s visitors are looking for.
The Real Food Café is a leading business in Scottish tourism and hospitality. With a growing team of 20 permanent staff, Sarah and Managing Director Alan’s priority is to continue to develop their team and champion careers in hospitality, particularly in the fish and chip industry. They are committed to the SVQ Modern Apprenticeship Programme and coach and mentor junior managers through the process, with the end goal being to help candidates make a real positive impact on the business. They are also an accredited Living Wage employer and one of only a few hospitality businesses in Stirling to be accredited.
In 2020 The Café won the National Fish Friers Federation’s Quality Award Champion at the National Fish & Chip Awards and was crowned Best Informal Dining Experience at the national Thistle Awards