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First Scotch Beef Ambassador in Europe

25/05/2006

The return of Scotch beef to Dutch dining tables was celebrated todaywith the appointment of the first Scotch Beef Ambassador in Europe.

The appointment of chef Cees Helder, of the renowned Parkheuvel restaurant in Rotterdam, follows the lifting of the ten year ban on British beef exports.

The Honorary Ambassadors will champion the Scotch Beef brand on a European stage and promote its taste and quality amongst their peers.

Around 40 leading chefs, importers and trade representatives from across the Netherlands joined Ross Finnie, Donald Biggar and Mr Helder for a celebratory lunch in Rotterdam today.

Scotland's Food Minister Ross Finnie said:

"Ten years ago Scotch Beef enjoyed the reputation of one of world's top quality products. It was in great demand in the leading butchers and restaurants of the world.

"The lunch today in Rotterdam provides an opportunity for us to showcase Scotch beef once again. With the help of Cees Helder we will raise awareness of the Scotch Beef brand in the Netherlands and help Scottish companies stimulate trading links.

"Scotch beef is back on the European menu and you will notice only one difference - the quality is better than ever."

QMS Chairman Donald Biggar said:

"In the three weeks since the lifting of the ban we have seen a steady increase in the volume of beef leaving Scotland heading for a number of key European destinations including France, Belgium, Italy and of course the Netherlands.

"The reaction from people who are renewing their acquaintance with Scotch Beef or trying it for the first time has been overwhelmingly positive. Some of the best chefs in Europe have gone out of their way to praise the superior taste and quality and applaud the knowledge and expertise of the Scotland's farmers and processors."

Chef Cees Helder added:

"As a long time supporter of Scotch Beef it is an honour to become the product's first European Ambassador. For ten long years the beef ban meant I was unable to serve up Scotch Beef on my restaurant menu.

"Thankfully that has now changed and I am delighted to see that, if anything, the beef currently being produced in Scotland tastes even better."

The event which is to be hosted by Scottish Food Minister Ross Finnie will also be attended by representatives from Dutch companies looking to import beef from Scotland.

QMS has announced plans to appoint four Honorary Scotch Beef Ambassadors in the key target markets across Europe who will work alongside dedicated agents in France and the Benelux to raise awareness of the Scotch Beef brand and help Scottish companies stimulate trading links.

Quality Meat Scotland, the red meat promotional body, approached Cees, who is one of only three Chefs who have the coveted three Michelin stars, to champion the message about the unique quality and taste of Scotch Beef following the recent lifting of the ban on UK beef exports.

Prior to the ban in 1996, the Netherlands was responsible for 10% of all Scotch Beef exports.

The Parkheuvel in Heuvelaan, Rotterdam opened in 1986. Chef Cees Helder was awarded his third Michelin star in 2002.