Dishing up Scotland’s Best

Dishing up Scotland’s Best

College training restaurant awarded VisitScotland accolade


Thu, 12 Jul 2018



A trailblazing restaurant run by students has received a prestigious food and drink award from VisitScotland.

The Gallery at Forth Valley College in Stirling was awarded a Taste Our Best accolade and became the first training restaurant in Scotland to achieve the award.

Taste Our Best connects the places people visit with first-class food and drink experiences through a quality mark which stands out to locals and visitors alike. It was designed to promote the use of Scottish produce within the tourism industry and recognise businesses that offer great quality Scottish food and drink experiences. The joint initiative between VisitScotland and the Scottish Government, with support from Scotland Food and Drink, aims to form stronger links between the places people visit and the food and drink experiences on offer.

As part of the scheme, restaurants, hotels, B&Bs, takeaways, cafes, visitor attractions and pubs or bars are assessed on not just the quality of their food and drink offering but also how they include and promote Scottish produce on their menus to give consumers choice. Almost half of visitors plan to try local cuisine when in Scotland and spend 21% of their holiday budget on eating and drinking.

The college restaurant is operated by students in various roles including chefs and front of house staff while being supervised by chef lecturers. It is open to the public but as well as preparing quality dishes for its customers, its main priority is to prepare the next generation of chefs and front of house staff for professional life by demanding high standards in a real-life setting and helping them towards a range of high standard professional qualifications.

The eatery sources many of its ingredients from Scottish suppliers including West Cockmuir Farm in Aberdeen, Mark Murphy Produce in Edinburgh, Connage Highland Dairy in Inverness and Campbells Fishmonger in Edinburgh.

The Gallery boasts stunning views across to the Wallace Monument, Ochil Hills, River Forth and the impressive Stirling city skyline while based at the £29 million Forth Valley College Campus which opened in 2012. Students cooking and serving at the restaurant are working towards a range of qualifications from City and Guilds to HND level.

The Gallery joins 26 other businesses with a Taste Our Best award in the Stirling area including The Wallace Monument which received the accolade on Tuesday.

Lord Thurso, VisitScotland Chairman said: “There is a growing expectation and desire among visitors to see local produce included in their dining experiences.

“And Taste Our Best provides businesses with an assessment of the overall quality of the visitor experience and the use of Scottish produce on their menu. It is wonderful to see somewhere like The Gallery restaurant which is nurturing the future of Scotland’s hospitality industry achieve this award and it is extra-special to recognise The Gallery and its students during the Year of Young People.”

Neil Christison, VisitScotland Regional Director said: “What better time than in 2018’s Year of Young People to celebrate this fantastic student led achievement. 

“This is the first college or university to achieve a Taste Our Best award, where the students have been accredited for this award in their hospitality restaurant but it is joining 26 other businesses in the Stirling area who have already been recognised by the scheme. The Gallery’s food offering not only demonstrates very high standards of culinary skills, but the menus tell a story about Scottish provenance, which not only benefits the Scottish economy, but enhances the visitor experience – something Taste Our Best and Quality Assurance is all about.”

Diane Creed, Forth Valley College’s Director of Creative Industries, Hospitality and Tourism, said: “We are honoured and delighted to be the first training restaurant in Scotland to receive a ‘Taste Our Best’ award. This quality assurance mark gives recognition to restaurants which offer a great choice of quality food while promoting Scottish produce and the best aspects of our tourist and hospitality industries - and this complements perfectly with what we strive to do through our Making Learning Work ethos.

This award is a great endorsement of the high standards that we strive for each day. To have VisitScotland’s approval through the Taste Our Best award, will no doubt inspire our talented and hardworking staff and current and future students, to improve even further to make the Gallery Restaurant an essential destination for visitors to the City of Stirling, as well as for local people.”

More info on bookings, opening times and menus on the link below.

And learn more about VisitScotland’s Taste Our Best scheme at


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