After my recent foodie adventures in New York City, it was a pleasure to explore and discover the wide range of high quality British food on show at last week’s Speciality and Fine Food Fair at London Olympia. One of the food producers that I came across at the show was Walkers, who are purveyors of shortbread, as well as a selection of other traditional Scottish baked goods.
Walkers was founded in 1898 by Joseph Walker in the Speyside village of Aberlour. As a young man aged twenty one, he opened a small village bakery with a loan of £50 and an ambitious dream of producing the world’s finest shortbread.
Fast Forwarding to 2013, Walkers Shortbread Limited is still based in Aberlour and is run by the third and fourth generations of the Walker family. From their humble beginnings, they have expanded their operations exponentially, and now employ 1600 staff and supply their fine Scottish fare to 90 countries worldwide. Even though they have grown and expanded their output, the company has continued to honour Joseph Walker’s original mission and vision, and strive to produce high quality shortbread using his original recipe and methodology.
I spoke to Jim Walker, joint managing director of Walkers and grandson of the company’s founder Joseph Walker, about the history of his company and the buttery-rich shortbread that they produce. He also told me about the other products that his company produces, including their savoury oatcakes and decadent Ecclefechan tarts. Finally, he talked about his hopes and aspirations for Walkers now and going forward.
You can hear my interview with Jim in full by clicking on the play button below.