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Event Recap: Tourism, Tastings & Time Out Wednesday 24 April

Women in Tourism were delighted to welcome over 50 guests to Tourism, Tasting and Time Out, on the evening of Wednesday 24 April 2019, staged against a backdrop of stunning castle views from the Heights restaurant at Apex Grassmarket Hotel.

Download the event slides (including speaker presentations).

Guests were treated to delicious canapes and drinks from Apex Hotels, and enjoyed plenty of time for networking and meeting food and drink producers, with a delicious range of gins from The Holyrood Distillery, healthy feelgood flavours from the Edinburgh Fermentarium, tasty artisan pies from Simple Simon’s Perfect Pies and irresistible gyoza dumplings from Harajuku Kitchen.

After a warm welcome from Karen Jacques of Women in Tourism and Julia MacGregor of Apex Hotels, Martha Bryce of Soundbite PR opened an informative speaker session and chaired the evening’s chat. What was clear from all speakers was the passion for their business activities and the drive to offer quality products and experiences for their customers.

The event format offered a fun, enjoyable and informative evening, with the opportunity to hear from female food, drink and tourism leaders, providing real insights into the challenges of starting, running and growing a business, as well as the genuine rewards of doing so.

Women in Tourism would like to thank Apex Hotels for hosting and catering, Martha Bryce of Soundbite PR for chairing the industry panel and chat, all industry speakers (listed below) and Women in Tourism members and community for attending.

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Deborah Newman, The Holyrood Distillery

Debs is part of the team behind a historic moment in Edinburgh’s history – the return of a working single malt whisky distillery in the city for the first time in almost 100 years. Opening this summer, the Holyrood Distillery will offer a full visitor experience. Debs has over 15 years’ experience in visitor attractions, most recently at the V&A Museum of Design, Dundee.


Ruth Munro, The Edinburgh Fermentarium

Ruth was so inspired by realising that simply adding fermented foods to her already healthy diet could have such a positive impact on her health, that she decided to start the Edinburgh Fermentarium. Eating fermented foods can have a positive impact on one’s mental and physical health. The more people Ruth can encourage to try them and realise they are fresh, crunchy, tasty with the unexpected tang that fermentation brings the better! As well as selling many types of kimchi, kraut and also SCOBY’s for customers  to make their own Kombucha, Ruth champions the benefits of a healthy gut by offering workshops, to enable people to learn about the benefits and see how easy it is to do it themselves at home.

Fiona Anderson, Simple Simon’s Perfect Pies

Fiona Anderson SSP

Fiona Anderson retired from Scottish Enterprise and bought the Simple Simon Perfect Pie bakery based in Biggar as a going concern in June 2016.  With a background in economic development and a focus on the food, drink and tourism sectors, Fiona recognises the importance of promoting the “provenance” of their pies. Locally sourced ingredients are central to the success and evolution of the brand. Supplying Waitrose, Dobbies & House of Bruar and engaging with tourists and regular customers at weekly farmers markets is a driver to maintaining superior quality standards while at the same time producing a truly artisan product that reflects the best that Scotland has to offer. “Good enough isn’t good enough as we strive to produce a perfect pie for every plate.”

Kaori Simpson, Harajuku Kitchen

Kaori Simpson

Harajuku Kitchen started life as a Japanese street food stall in Edinburgh, and is now a renowned and award-winning restaurant led by very skilled and passionate chefs. Japanese entrepreneur and chef Kaori Simpson was born in Hong Kong into an expat Japanese family of merchants. Her father was an international tuna trader and her Samurai maternal great grandfather started his own business in Fukuoka, when the Samurai was modernised in the Meiji era by the Emperor; he opted to receive the estate and transformed it into a traditional fine dining Japanese restaurant.

Kaori grew up helping in her mum’s restaurants, learning the family recipes and eventually cooking in the kitchen, so it was almost inevitable that she would one day bring those Japanese flavours back into her life. Harajuku Kitchen is now a part of Edinburgh’s foodie scene and local community which serves food that make everyone feel wholesome and happy when they taste a bite of ‘Japan ‘ in Scotland.