Group showcased on top BBC show
Caroline samples ‘Great British Menu’dish
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