The Scotsman’s Scran podcast hits new heights with famous guests

Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr and Highlander star Sam Heughan can be heard on the latest episodes of the foodie podcast

Outlander star Sam Hueghan and his new whisky

Scran, the food and drink podcast from The Scotsman, has welcomed some famous faces into its virtual ‘studio’ in recent weeks.

While previous guests have included everyone from buffalo farmers to craft gin distillers, some well-known names have helped the show reach a much wider audience, in Scotland and across the world.

Michel Roux Jr

Michel Roux Jr, the world-renowned chef and TV presenter, was recently a guest on the podcast when host Rosalind Erksine visited him at Crossbasket Castle just outside Glasgow.

In the wide-ranging interview, Michel explains that it wasn’t always a fine dining experience growing up, despite his family’s reputation (his father Albert and his uncle, Michel Roux Snr, founded Le Gavroche, the first restaurant in Britain to gain a Michelin star in 1974).

“Food has always been very important in the Roux household but not extravagance,” he said. “When my parents arrived back in England in 1958, they didn’t have two pennies to rub together. So it was all about foraging and good basic ingredients.”

He even revealed that his links to the kitchen go as far back as his birth: “My Mum went into labour helping Dad cook! Dad was the chef and Mum was the kitchen help.”

While the talk of Michelin stars may seem far removed from the average chef’s experience, Michel reminds young professionals not to aspire to unattainable standards:

“I always say to young chefs, don’t cook for stars or for a great review. Cook for your guests and your customers. Make sure they are happy and coming back, then you are on the right track.”

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Outlander star Sam Hueghan also joined host Rosalind on Scran last week, to talk about the launch of his new blended Scotch whisky, The Sassenach.

When asked about the meaning behind the name, he explained: “I guess the name became synonymous with my character Jamie Fraser and Outlander because it’s his name that he uses for his wife. And it’s a term of endearment really.

“And I know, in Scotland previously, it has been slightly derogatory, used for English people or outsiders. But actually, I think through the show, people have kind of realised that the way he uses it is that the term of endearment and that’s what we wanted to do with the whisky.

“We want it to be for the outsider, for people that don’t know about whisky, or want to access whisky and want somewhere to start.”

Actor Sam first branched out onto the whisky scene in 2019 when he founded the Great Glen company, a platform to share authentic Scottish products, culture, and heritage with the world at large.

He recalled the first time he enjoyed a dram: “I was living in London and Los Angeles quite a lot. And I remember going into a bar and sitting with one of my good friends around Christmas time and it was the first time I really ordered a whisky and it was a Speyside and we sat and we drank and it was cold outside and it just took me back to Scotland.

“I think I was quite homesick and missing Scotland. I realised at that point that you know that whisky is different to other alcohols, it has a lot of senses. And no matter where you are in the world, it will transport you back to the Highlands and back to Scotland.”

On the episode Sam shares his favourite drams, which include Amrut, Glenturret, and of course his own Sassenach whisky, and takes a nostalgic trip down memory lane with his Scottish food favourites.

Interviews with guests like Michel and Sam, as well as other top chefs and producers from across Scotland, have been well received by audiences.

Recent Scran episodes have had a huge response on social media, and the Sam Heughan interview alone racked up thousands of listens on its day of release.

Host Rosalind Erksine said: “I’m really proud of the progress we have made with Scran. Whether we’ve been out on the road visiting distilleries or inviting experts into the studio, it’s been a fun and fascinating experience.

“As we are coming up to Scran’s first birthday, it’s great to see how far it has come, and bringing guests like Michel Roux Jr and Sam Heughan on, as well as the likes of Nick Nairn and wine connoisseur Diana Thompson, has really cemented it as the food and drink podcast for Scotland. Here’s to another year of brilliant guests.”

Scran is published by Laudable, the Google-funded joint audio for local news and issues initiative from JPI Media and Reach plc, and is co-produced by Rosalind and Morven McIntyre..

Other series include the Coronavirus podcast series, Alone Together, and The Brink, which details the dramatic story of 1980s Militant in Liverpool.

Laudable content available wherever you get your podcasts but for exclusive, interactive and immersive content you can download the Entale app for iOS and Android.

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