Welcome to the Love Your Local Larder podcast! A podcast that celebrates local produce with the people who cook and grow it.
In this episode, we had the privilege of chatting with Coinneach MacLeod, Scotland's food and drink influencer of the year, better known as the Hebridean Baker. The Hebridean Baker passionately shares the culinary delights, beverages, and vibrant culture of the Hebridean Islands of Scotland with a global audience through his social media platforms and best-selling cookbooks. His creations, inspired by cherished family recipes, traditional bakes, and authentic Scottish flavours, showcase Scotland's diverse and plentiful larder.
This episode allowed us to delve into Coinneach's unexpected journey, exploring what ignited his passion to create his platform and how he ascended to fame while exuding a love for all things related to Scottish cuisine and traditions. In the true spirit of Love Your Local Larder, we embraced the chance to sample his range of biscuits, with a special highlight on his best-selling shortbread crafted with our heather honey!
Here is what Suzie, our host, had to say about her chat with the Hebridean Baker: "I was absolutely thrilled that Coinneach agreed to come on the podcast given his super-stardom and the fact he lives two equally as busy lives in both sport and baking, how he finds the time for all of this is beyond me. What a truly lovely man he is. I mention in the podcast that I've made a few of his recipes and they are just the definition of cosy comforts. He has been really kind to us as producers and we can't thank him enough."
Listen to the podcast episode here...
In 2020, Coinneach embarked on a journey on TikTok creating recipes intertwined with Gaelic lessons, with the hope of engaging and delighting the local island community. To his amazement, his videos reached an astonishing 28 million viewers! Subsequently, he published three popular cookbooks, drawing inspiration from cherished family recipes, traditional bakes, and the diverse flavours of Scotland. These books are infused with nostalgia-inducing Scottish recipes and charming narratives; offering a glimpse into the lives of Coinneach, his partner Peter, and their dog Seoras on the Isle of Lewis.
The spark for the Hebridean Baker's journey came from a cherished family moment. He recalls his Aunt preparing a Clootie Dumpling, a classic Scottish dessert made with dried fruit and spices, traditionally enjoyed on Burns Night. His Aunt revealed that she had been preparing the same recipe for 80 years and used it as her wedding cake on her wedding day, even baking it the morning of the wedding! This connection to heritage and the desire to preserve these unique island traditions struck a chord with Coinneach. He felt a profound need to ensure that these special cultural practices were not lost, motivating him to create the Hebridean Baker and share these stories and recipes with his fellow islanders and subsequently, the world.
Following an unexpected mention in Elle magazine, likening him to the comforting sound of Scottish shortbread emerging from the oven, the Hebridean Baker's TikTok videos began to capture widespread attention. This initial recognition set off a chain reaction, leading to features in various magazines, a surge in followers, and a buzz of excitement around his work. Through the lens of his personal and heartfelt journey, he shares a genuine and warm invitation to experience the love that he pours into his culinary creations and his cherished island community.
In the podcast episode, The Hebridean Baker mentions a Gaelic word, 'cianalas,' denoting a profound yearning for a place, even if one has never visited. He captures this sentiment in his content, allowing both international viewers and Scottish locals to experience the genuine essence of the culture and cuisine. With each video, he weaves a tale around Scottish produce and flavours, infusing them with authentic narratives. This art of storytelling holds immense significance in Scottish and island culture, especially when intertwined with the realm of food.
The success of his internationally bestselling books can be attributed to their intentional simplicity. Each recipe is crafted to be accessible, featuring straightforward instructions and a minimal set of ingredients, ensuring that anyone can recreate the dishes. These recipes evoke smiles, nostalgia, or offer a delightful twist on beloved classics.
Teaming up with the oldest bakery in the Hebrides, Stag Bakeries, Coinneach curated an impressive assortment of shortbreads and oat biscuits, further enriching the already extensive array of high quality produce from the Islands. We were thrilled to indulge in a taste test of a few biscuits from his range. Be prepared to find yourself irresistibly tempted to grab a few packets for yourself!
The Hebridean Baker’s reach has encouraged people to embrace the joy of baking, explore the art of foraging, delve into the beauty of Gaelic language, savour a dram or two of whisky, and embrace a more wholesome and straightforward way of life. I hope that our conversation has conveyed this contagious enthusiasm to you as well. Pick up a copy of his latest cookbook and immerse yourself in his gentle stories, which transport you to the picturesque landscapes and communities of the Hebrides.
If this has tempted you to try one of the Hebridean Baker's recipes, then you're in luck! Give this delightful Honey Rock Cakes recipe a go, perfect for savouring with a cup of tea.