Island Traditions are on the Rise

Inspired by his own family recipes, Coinneach MacLeod launched the ‘Hebridean Baker’ on Tiktok in 2020 – and millions of views later he has now gathered a loyal global following.

His recipes offer an evocative taste of island life, so it is no wonder the Hebridean Baker has just finished his second sell-out North American book tour, which took place in Washington DC, Boston, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Denver, Chicago and Toronto.

Coinneach MacLeod finished the fortnight on the Canadian bestsellers list and returns to North America in July to be the Author in Residence at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in North Carolina where 30,000 folk a day will revel in everything Scottish.

Born and raised on the island of Lewis, the most northerly of the Outer Hebrides, he is inspired by family recipes, traditional baking and Scottish flavours and showcases the best of the Scottish islands through his stories, dishes and adventures with his partner Peter and their wee West Highland Terrier Sèoras.

Coinneach was Scotland’s best-selling cookbook author in 2021 and 2022 with his two cookbooks, Recipes and Wee Stories from the Scottish Islands and My Scottish Island Kitchen. His third cookbook is due out in October.

His cookbooks and social media content have certainly struck a chord, as 26 million people worldwide have been encouraged to bake, forage, learn Gaelic, enjoy a dram or two of whisky and seek a more wholesome, simple life.

In conjunction with Stag Bakeries, the oldest bakery in the Outer Hebrides, Coinneach has released a selection of Hebridean Baker shortbread and oattie biscuits. The delicately flavoured Heather Honey Shortbread appears in this month’s WeeBox. “It is amazing that my shortbread is being whisked across the world directly from the island of Lewis,” says Coinneach.

“I love telling stories through my recipes, from a Brides Bonn, a shortbread which is smashed over the brides head on the day of the wedding, to a Scots Flummery, which was Flora McDonald’s final dessert before she was arrested for helping Bonnie Prince Charlie escape from Culloden.”