Group show­cased on top BBC show

Caro­line sam­ples ‘Great Bri­tish Menu’dish

Lennox Herald - - NEWS - Lorraine Weir

A B a l l o c h wo ma n w a s de­lighted to help show­case “the Ru­ral” on TV as part of cel ebra­tions t o mark the cen­te­nary of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Dun­bar t on­shi r e Fe derat i on c h a i r wo man Ca r o l i n e S t u a r t ap­peared on screen dur­ing t he S c ot t i s h heat of t he Great Bri­tish Menu, aired ear­lier this month.

It is the 10th se­ries of the pop­u­lar BBC show in which some of the coun­try’s top chefs com­pete to win a place cook­ing at a fi­nal ban­quet. This year the feast will celebrate the 100th an­niver­sary of the foun­da­tion of the Women’s In­sti­tute (WI).

The or­gan­i­sa­tion was formed in 1915 to re­vi­talise ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and en­cour­age women to pro­duce food for the na­tion dur­ing the First World War. Two years later, the SWI was borne and, a cen­tury later, the in­sti­tute re­mains syn­ony­mous with Bri­tish home cook­ing.

Caro­line, who be­longs to the Luss in­sti­tute, was lucky enough to sam­ple one of the de­li­cious main cour­ses cre­ated by Scot­tish chef Jimmy Lee, who was vy­ing for a place at the ban­quet and, along with SWI chair­woman Chris­tine Hut­ton and se­nior vice-chair­woman Linda Ret­son, helped the Glas­gow-based res­tau­ra­teur s ource s ome SWI tar­tan for the spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tion of his dish.

Caro­line said: “We were sit­ting there as a panel and he pre­sented the dish to us. Chris­tine Hut­ton spoke about ‘ the Ru­ral’ tra­di­tion and the chef heated the dish up and brought it through.

“It was very nice. It was a very spicy tast­ing stew but it ob­vi­ously didn’t im­press enough.”

Ji mmy f a i l e d t o pro g r e s s t o face the judges, with Jac­que­line O’Don­nell win­ning a place through to the fi­nal stages.

But Caro­line, who has been a mem­ber of Luss SWI since 1988, was pleased t o be able t o help pub­li­cise the or­gan­i­sa­tion on a big stage.

She said: “I feel quite proud that the SWI is be­ing shown on TV. We just want to en­cour­age peo­ple to try things out.”

T h e S WI i s g o i n g t h r o u g h some­thing of a change this year, hav­ing dropped “ru­ral” from its name and un­veil­ing a new logo and motto “Women To­gether ”, re­plac­ing the strapline “For Home and Coun­try”, and launch­ing a new web­site.

C a r o l i n e a d d e d : “We a r e drop­ping the ‘ ru­ral’ to hope­fully ma k e it more ap­peal­ing to y o u ng e r p e o p l e i n t he t owns and cities.

“You don’t need to be a farmer be­fore you can join the group. I do orig­i­nally come from a farm but I have not been in­volved in farm­ing since I left col­lege.

“T h e v a s t maj o r i t y o f o u r mem­bers d o n’ t hav e l i nk s t o farm­ing but are just peo­ple who have an in­ter­est in bak­ing, cook­ing, knit­ting and sewing.”

Dun­bar t on­shi r e Fe derat i on has branches in Cardross, Cove and Kil­creg­gan, Gare­lochhead, Gar­tocharn, Luss, Mil­laig ( Hel e ns b ur g h) , Cra i g t o n a nd Crof­tamie.

Fo r more d e t a i l s o f h ow t o f i nd your near­est i nsti t ute, or ad­vice on how t o set up a new one, visit www. theswi. org. uk or log onto at www. face­book. com/ Scot­tishWomen­sIn­sti­tutes.

Cook­ing with gas Caro­line Stu­art, SWI Dun­bar­ton­shire Fed­er­a­tion chair­woman, from Bal­loch, far left, sam­pled the main course made by Jimmy Lee

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