A NEW shop which prides itself as being “100 per cent Scottish” is set to open in London to help celebrate and promote suppliers from across the country.

Gregg Boyd, 30, is the founder of Auld Hag, a company with the “core mission of championing Scottish produce” which is set to open its new store – The Shoap – in Angel in London next week.

Originally from Kirkintilloch, Boyd’s interest in food and drink started when he was a youngster. He spoke with The National about his journey from starting the business in lockdown to preparing to open his new store.

Developing an interest

Boyd admits that he only discovered his interest in food and drink by chance after an incident as a teenager.

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“The truthful story is, like some kids, I was in the park underage having an alcoholic drink and my mum grounded me for the whole summer,” he explained.

“It meant that all I watched was cooking shows like Jamie (Oliver) At Home. I had a garden as a kid but never used it and watched him growing his vegetables, getting the lamb locally and became fascinated by it because I hadn’t really experienced it as a kid.

“When it got to Christmas that year, I spent my money on cooking kit and got into learning about it all.”

Despite considering a career in food straight away, Boyd ended up going to university but always retained part-time jobs in the food and drink industry.

“I worked in a farm shop with a real focus on Scottish produce and became obsessed with that element. It might seem quite basic to some people but it was unbelievable to me.”

A change of career

Following his move to London, Boyd initially worked as an economist but the idea for Auld Hag had been around for some time.

When it first started, it operated more as a delivery service for people looking to get their haggis, neeps and tatties.

Boyd (below) explained: “My career was going well but the more I went into it, the less chance I had to set this up. Lockdown came along and I was stuck inside so it was now or never at that point really.

The National:

“People would order it on the website and I would drop it off to them which was a real experiment to be honest. As time went on, I went to markets and got myself a gazebo and basic outdoor cooking kit.”

As his success grew, Boyd was eventually given the chance to work as the resident chef at a brewery in Walthamstow.

“When I got to the end of that period, it was about March last year so I came back to the crossroads of my old career in either going for it or getting the shop set up.

“I want to give suppliers a chance around Scotland which nobody seems to know about but I know are brilliant,” he said.

Setting up ‘Shoap’

Boyd says he is planning on opening the new store to the public next Friday and there will be a wide range of classic Scottish produce to choose from.

This includes cheese from Inverness to Mull, smoked fish from East Neuk, beer and charcuterie from Edinburgh and much more.

“It’s 100 per cent Scottish, even the flour we use is from North Berwick. I’ve tried to go down to the foundations to make it that way,” Boyd said.

“We’ll bake our morning rolls in house because they don’t travel particularly well to London. We’ll have scotch pies, mother’s pride-style bread for our sandwiches, our milk is coming from Scotland.

“There’s two elements – the café and the deli. The café gives people that real taste of home that they miss.

“We’ve got an alcohol licence too so you can come get Scottish cider. We want to show the breadth of Scottish food and drink capabilities.”

Having lived in London for more than a decade now, Boyd is excited to get the store up and running.

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He said: “Every year when I lived here during my old career, I’d always wonder it must be happening this year.

“I was very surprised but I’m glad I’ve managed to push it myself and bring it to London. People always ask me about Scottish food and say, ‘is that a deep-fried Mars Bar’ and it’s always made me sigh.

“So this is part excitement but also part frustration to showcase all this. All these little mini missions are part of the journey.

“It’s not about being bitter and annoyed but saying look what we have, come and enjoy it all here.”