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McCune Smith is a joint venture between my brother Simon and I. We grew up on a farm in the Hebrides where growing vegetables and home cooking are a way of life. We wanted McCune Smith to reflect our upbringing, serving artisan food that showcased Scotland’s larder and used ethical ingredients. With this in mind for our café’s menu, it was perhaps natural to turn to Scotland’s fertile history for its name.

 

Though there are few visual reminders, McCune Smith is situated in the historic heart of Glasgow. It was on the slave walk with the historian Stephen Mullen that I stopped at the site of ‘Old College’ (1451-1878).

Philosophers such as James Watt and Adam Smith had made it the centre of the ‘Scottish Enlightenment’ as an aside Stephen also remarked about a distinguished physician who graduated in 1837 from ‘Old College’ as the first African American to achieve a medical degree. James McCune Smith’s legacy much like the area where he had studied has been largely overlooked until recently. An influential abolitionist, he was buried in an unmarked grave by his pale skinned children, to escape racial prejudice. For me, he embodies many of the positive and negative aspects of Glasgow’s history and like ‘Old College’ deserves to be celebrated.

 

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At McCune Smith we are always looking for the best, local, Scottish, ethical and sustainable ingredients. With such an amazing range of producers that grow, rear and make some of the best produce in the world on our doorsteps. First we take inspiration from the historic figures our sandwiches are named after and then combine the abundance of the Scottish larder and there you have it.  A little taste of history in every bite.

 

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"It's infectious. If I lived near it, you wouldn't keep me away."

 

8/10 Joanna Blythman, Sunday Herald

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"It's infectious. If I lived near it, you wouldn't keep me away."

 


8/10 Joanna Blythman, Sunday Herald

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McCune Smith is a joint venture between my brother Simon and I. We grew up on a farm in the Hebrides where growing vegetables and home cooking are a way of life. We wanted McCune Smith to reflect our upbringing, serving artisan food that showcased Scotland’s larder and used ethical ingredients. With this in mind for our café’s menu, it was perhaps natural to turn to Scotland’s fertile history for its name. Though there are few visual reminders, McCune Smith is situated in the historic heart of Glasgow. It was on the slave walk with the historian Stephen Mullen that I stopped at the site of ‘Old College’ (1451-1878).

 

Philosophers such as James Watt and Adam Smith had made it the centre of the ‘Scottish Enlightenment’ as an aside Stephen also remarked about a distinguished physician who graduated in 1837 from ‘Old College’ as the first African American to achieve a medical degree. James McCune Smith’s legacy much like the area where he had studied has been largely overlooked until recently. An influential abolitionist, he was buried in an unmarked grave by his pale skinned children, to escape racial prejudice. For me, he embodies many of the positive and negative aspects of Glasgow’s history and like ‘Old College’ deserves to be celebrated.

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