Catherine Brown became widely known during the 1980s and 90s for her investigative food columns in The Herald (Glasgow) and as a presenter of STV and Grampian TV’s Scotland’s Larder. In 2001 she was the Guild of Food Writers’ Food Journalist of the Year. She is the author of several books on Scottish food, including her acclaimed Scottish Cookery. Her time is divided between a small village on the Isle of Arran and an even smaller village on the shores of Loch Torridon.
I grew up in a Glasgow tenement and began cooking at home with my mother. I cooked too as a child with my maternal granny in her cramped tenement kitchen in Glasgow’s East End. Also in my other granny’s kitchen beside a East Coast fishing village where fish fresh from the boats was delivered by her fishwife. My first professional cooking (aged 16) was in a Clydeside dockers’ canteen frying eggs and bacon to start the day.
Later, there were other goals which took me into teaching catering and then into researching the potential of British Cookery for professional chefs and domestic kitchens at Strathclyde University’s Scottish Hotel School. For a while I was also a professional chef in hotels, one post taking me to the Loch Torridon Hotel in Wester Ross.
Food writing began when a publisher heard me enthusing about Scottish food on a radio programme. He wrote to ask if I would be interested in writing a book about it. Scottish Regional Recipes was published in 1981 and the same year I began writing for The Herald in Glasgow, and a few years later became their food correspondent, writing weekly columns – including the investigative Business of Food – for the next twenty years.
In between there have been other books. Also twelve years as restaurant critic for The Scottish Field. In the late 1990s, I joined Grampian and STV’s Scotland’s Larder, as co-presenter (with Derek Cooper), a series which celebrated Scotland’s rich natural larder. Over the years there have been three Glenfiddich Food Writing Awards as well as a Guild of Food Writers’ Food Journalist of the Year. I am also a member of Scottish Pen International and the Society of Authors as well as an FSA Scot (Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland).
‘A lot of the credit for the revival of interest in traditional Scottish Cookery must go to Catherine Brown… Her Scottish Cookery is the ideal handbook, for anyone who wants to experience the great repertoire of Scottish cuisine. Any cook… should have this invaluable book at their elbow.”
Derek Cooper, The Scottish Field