Tribute: Huub Schoemaker
14th April 2021
IT is with great sadness that QMS has learned of the untimely death of Huub Schoemaker who will be remembered by many in the Scottish red meat industry for his unwavering commitment to champion Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Huub Schoemaker came from a family of Dutch master butchers and his long association with Scotch Beef began way back in the early 1990’s when he was the meat specialist with Food from Britain, Netherlands. Beef exports from the UK were booming and the flagship product was Scotch Beef. FFB were the contractors for Scotmex, the Scottish Meat Export promotional partnership comprising SQBLA, Scottish Enterprise and MLC. The first Scotch Beef Club was launched in Milan in 1990 closely followed by Amsterdam, Paris, Cologne and Brussels - high profile events targeting the food service and independent retail sectors. Things were looking good, but there was a cloud on the horizon – BSE. In 1996 for 10 years – the export markets closed.
Throughout this time, Huub worked tirelessly to maintain contact with importers and influencers and to pave the way to re-establish the markets. Initially Scottish Government and latterly EU Marketing Development Scheme grants funded Export Development Managers within the key markets and Huub took over the Benelux role for QMS. Throughout the following years, he brought countless importers, journalists, opinion formers and chefs to Scotland. The Highland Show was the perfect showcase and many of these missions were built around a day at Ingliston. Before the days of GPS, Huub successfully navigated the farm roads of Scotland and would travel from Inverurie to Saltcoats to show off the product, meet the producers and bring potential clients and suppliers together. All of this was combined with the organisation of PR events and activities at home where renowned Dutch 3-star Michelin chef Cees Helder became a Scotch Beef ambassador and often co-hosted educational events and Scotch Beef masterclasses for chefs.
Huub was the face of Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb in Benelux. He was first point of contact for businesses on both sides of the North Sea. As well as his native Dutch, he spoke French, German and Flemish so communicated easily with journalists, butchers, processors, chefs and members of the public. At international fairs such as SIAL and ANUGA he was an indispensable member of the QMS team. He had a passion and an enthusiasm for Scotland and Scottish food products that was infectious and he was respected by all for his knowledge, expertise and professionalism.
He did much to be proud of during his 30-year association with Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb - although he would have wished to have had the time to do more. He will be missed by his former colleagues and many friends in the industry. Their thoughts are with his family, three daughters, one son and eight grandchildren. Huub Schoemaker died on 29th March 2021 age 63 years and a memorial service was held on 6th April at which Scotch Beef was included.