Enterprising gastronomy graduate pampers NHS heroes with Scotland’s finest foods

By Press Office

An enterprising graduate who is passionate about celebrating Scotland’s small food producers has been rewarding NHS heroes, who have helped in the fight against COVID-19, with fabulous luxury gift hampers.

David McVey, who runs Edinburgh’s Artisan Larder Scotland, has been helping QMU and Santander Universities to thank QMU students working in the NHS with a choice of luxury hampers, stocked full of award winning Scottish products.

David, a passionate food lover, set up the Ostara Café in Leith after studying MSc Gastronomy at QMU, graduating in 2008. He found that there was a growing demand from customers who wanted to buy the high quality produce he used in the café, so he founded Artisan Larder. The move has gone down really well with people who appreciate food from Scottish artisan producers - not available to buy in the supermarkets - who want to enjoy these culinary delights in their comfort of their own home.

With all the negativity surrounding the pandemic, David has been keen to use his business skills and his passion for food, to make a positive impact on people’s lives. However, with many small businesses struggling to survive in the pandemic, making a contribution to others, let alone keeping afloat, would be an almost impossible financial challenge. However, David was overjoyed when a special support package from QMU and Santander Universities, not only provided a welcome boost for his own business, but enabled him to fund the creation of indulgent gourmet treat packages for QMU healthcare students.

Thomas Kelly, Head of Development and Alumni Relations at Queen Margaret University, explained: “Santander Universities is supporting both QMU and Edinburgh Napier University with £50,000 of funding to supply thank you gifts to 1,400 students across Edinburgh who have been helping the NHS in the fight against COVID-19. QMU Nursing and Allied Health Professional students have been able to apply to receive a choice of one or two luxury Artisan Larder food hampers - a 'pamper hamper' or breakfast hamper!

“Santander Universities has been a key member of the QMU Community for over 10 years now. During the pandemic, our community has never been more important and Santander is showing this yet again, as we thank our students working in the NHS during this time. This initiative has not only recognised the important work of our healthcare students, it has provided essential support to a young developing business and, in turn, to local small food producers which work with Artisan Larder.”

David said: “The support from Santander via QMU has come at a vital time for the business and we are excited and inspired to be apart of this worthy initiative. We have loved making up the hampers and hearing back from students who have enjoyed the selection of gifts including a range of Scottish cheese, Edinburgh Honey, Tobermory trout and locally produced tea, coffee, biscuits, and preserves. We wanted to make them feel extraordinary and we are thankful that this support package has contributed to our business and allowed us to do something special for others who are playing a critical part in the country’s recovery from COVID-19. I come from a family of nurses and both my mother and sister have continued to work on the front lines during this difficult time. I am grateful to all the nurses and health care professionals who are at risk everyday so that we can be safe, and hope our hampers provide a little respite from the present hardship of the pandemic.”

Thomas Kelly concluded: “This initiative is part of a much larger Santander COVID-19 emergency support package at QMU, totalling over £75k, which includes supporting our students and student startup businesses in financial hardship due to the pandemic. We cannot thank Santander enough for all that they have done to help support our students during these unprecedented times.

“We are incredibly proud of all of our students, especially those working in the NHS during the pandemic. We hope that the luxury hampers from Artisan Larder are enjoyed on a well-earned day off.”

QMU students who are currently working, or have worked to assist with the recovery from the pandemic, have until the 7th September to request a hamper. Email E: alumni@qmu.ac.uk with your name, matriculation number and a short description about your role in the NHS during the pandemic.

Notes to Editor


Find out more about:

- Queen Margaret University’s MSc Gastronomy
- Artisan Larder Gifts

If you require further media information please contact Lynne Russell, Communications Manager at Queen Margaret University, on E: lrussell@qmu.ac.uk, m: 07711 011239.

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