The Hebridean Baker Source: Courtesy of the Hebridean Baker

EDGE Interview: A Gay Hebridean Baker has the Right Ingredients for Internet Stardom

Timothy Rawles READ TIME: 6 MIN.

The recipe for becoming a great social media celebrity might be a bit less complicated than making a traditional Scottish dish, but Coinneach MacLeod manages to do both becoming one of the most popular food-related personalities on TikTok. Known as Hebridean Baker, MacLeod has amassed over 252K followers.

"I'm gonna be 50 this year," he tells EDGE in his clear Scottish accent. "If I was 21, I think I would be taken this in a very different way, but I can kind of smile and look back at this wonderful thing that's happened to me --- Scotland's best-selling cookbook author for the past three years and to be an international best seller. You know, it's something I certainly didn't expect going into my fiftieth year."

If he is not showing you how to make shallot tarte tatin or salmon wellington, he is taking you along with him on his many outdoor adventures through the Hebrides, a large archipelago to the west of the Scottish mainland. It might be hard to distinguish whether MacLeod's main focus is his food or homeland tours but both are congruent to his content.

Along with celebrating the pride of his homeland, the handsome, hirsute baker is also proud of the LGBTQ+ community of which he is a part. He lives with his spouse Peter MacQueen, an author and on-air personality for BBC Alba; a Gaelic-language broadcast television channel. The couple gather friends together at Christmas for a special event on their property which they lovingly transform into a winter wonderland every year.

The Hebridean Baker
Source: Courtesy of the Hebridean Baker

Now that the holidays are over, MacLeod has begun the North American leg of his book tour to promote "The Hebridean Baker at Home," with appearances already sold out in many cities. It's clear that his popularity is enough to sell thousands of books to fans who are willing to see him in person. But it's hard to tell which of the two they are excited about the most: the flavors or the folklore. It's all been a very fast rise to the top for MacLeod, but he seems to be taking it in stride.

"What was intentional in the beginning was myself and my partner Peter wanted to share what we do," says MacLeod about his initial venture into online influencing which started as a hobby during the pandemic. "The content we created wasn't, 'Ah, let's do this because it will look great on social media,' we just showed what our lives were like."

MacLeod is publicly out, and February is LGBTQ+ history month in Scotland. Historically the country has been more progressive than some; they legalized same-sex marriage in 2014 -- a year before the United States. But that doesn't mean they don't have a homophobic past. For a small island chain in Scotland, being gay isn't so much frowned upon as it is unconsidered.

"Unintentionally, we really have impacted a lot on the LGBT community in rural Scotland because for probably one of the first times they've had somebody from the islands who has, you know, stood out and told their story," says MacLeod.

That story was so influential, that MacLeod and his fellow countryman; actor Anthony Rogers, were recently recognized for their contributions. As a social media influencer who prepares traditional Scottish cuisine from his kitchen, it was a happy broadside MacLeod wasn't prepared for.

"I've just been given the LGBT Culture Awards for Scotland, for what we've done for the community and Scotland through the arts," says MacLeod. "That's unbelievable for me, certainly to have impacted just through something as simple as bacon, but the storyline has resonated through who we are, and the support through the allied community has been fantastic."

@hebrideanbaker Marmalade Soufflé #hebrideanbaker #fyp #recipe #baker #marmalade #souffle ♬ The Ogham Stone - Michael McGoldrick

by Timothy Rawles

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