Chef and Genius Foods bakery founder, Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, has been appointed chairwoman of industry body Scotland Food and Drink (SFD).
She will take over from Dennis Overton, of Ross-shire-based seafood business Aquascot, who has held the role since 2018 and is stepping down in November.
Ms Bruce-Gardyne has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, working in kitchens, teaching and as an entrepreneur and board director.
She trained as a chef at Leith’s School of Food and Wine and went on to run a private catering company in Italy and London before returning to teach at Leith’s.
In 2008, she founded leading ‘free from’ bakery brand Genius Foods, after discovering a lack of gluten free options catering to her son’s gluten intolerance.
Her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for Scotland’s food and drink story will ensure the important work of the organisation and wider Scotland Food and Drink partnership continues to go from strength to strength.”
Genius remains based in West Lothian and caters to customers across the UK, Europe, Australia, and America. Ms Bruce-Gardyne recently stepped down from the business to pursue other interests.
She co-founded the Gluten Free Industry Association in 2016 and is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh as well as holding non-executive board directorships at the Society of Chemical Industry and The Scale Up Institute.
Ms Bruce-Gardyne was appointed as a board director of SFD in 2019.
Mr Overton, who has been a board member at SFD since its launch in 2007, said: “Being involved in Scotland Food and Drink from inception to where it is now has been one of the most enjoyable and satisfying chapters of my working life.
“The way in which the industry has come together, supported by businesses up and down the country, has been remarkable to see.
“I believe we have forged a new type of partnership working with government and the public sector and it has underpinned the growth in our sector’s value and reputation over the last 15 years.
“I am delighted that Lucinda will be taking over as chair in November. Her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for Scotland’s food and drink story will ensure the important work of the organisation and wider Scotland Food and Drink partnership continues to go from strength to strength.”
Industry is facing ‘seismic’ changes
Ms Bruce-Gardyne said: “It’s an honour to be appointed chair of Scotland Food and Drink, an industry which is not only crucial to the success of our economy, but a fundamental pillar in who we are as a country.
“Dennis has been an outstanding servant to the organisation and industry. He was one of the architects of Scotland Food and Drink and its ambitions.”
She continued: “I plan to work with the rest of the board and the organisation’s key partners to continue the invaluable work he’s done in building resilience within the sector and driving sustainable growth.
“The industry is facing seismic change in transitioning to net zero and adapting to a post-pandemic and post-Brexit world.
“Arguably the work of the organisation has never been more important, and I look forward to playing my part from November.”