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From Portugal to Newburgh: How one pizza caravan travelled nearly 2,000 miles to be part of a Scottish community

Anthony Pierce, Shaun Russell Fraser and  Roberto Querido in Mugdrum Car Park, Newburgh.
Anthony Pierce, Shaun Russell Fraser and Roberto Querido in Mugdrum Car Park, Newburgh.

Two friends swapped sunny Portugal for the colder Scottish climate during the pandemic with a dream of bringing Neapolitan pizza to Fife.

Shaun Russell Fraser and Anthony Pierce travelled nearly 2,000 miles from where their business was based in Portugal to bring a slice of Italy to the masses.

Relocating to Newburgh in Fife last October, the friends scouted out areas across Scotland before heading back to Portugal to collect a caravan Shaun had converted into a pizza street food facility.

The duo have since been awaiting permission from the local council to be able to start their street food business, Fraser’s Caravan, which they hope will be based in the Mugdrum car park.

Shaun Russell Fraser and Anthony Pierce handing out free hot chocolates to local residents. Photo credit: Photos by Zoe

200 hot chocolates

In the meantime, the duo decided to give back to the local community over the New Year period, handing out free hot chocolate drinks to anyone who wanted one.

Shaun said: “We are looking to start a pizza business in Scotland, but we don’t have all of the investment behind us so we thought about selling hot drinks like hot chocolate. We have been waiting for our street traders license to come through and thought, while we we are waiting, we would do something nice for the community.

“We handed out free hot chocolate on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and January 2. It let us get our faces and names out there and was a nice way to introduce ourselves to the people who live locally. We’ve handed out around 200 free hot chocolates already.

“Until our license comes through we will be offering the drinks for free. We’re not selling drinks so we don’t need a license to treat people. I’ve been on the phone to the licensing board to check when it will arrive, but it is just a waiting game just now.”

Tasting session

Looking to operate the business initially from Mugdrum car park, the pair have been pitching up across the town to hand out the complimentary hot drinks, something Shaun says they will continue to do this weekend.

“I think we will be doing something similar on Sunday this weekend. We were initially based on the High Street but we moved to someone’s driveaway in Newburgh,” said Shaun.

Roberto Querido, Anthony Pierce and Shaun Russell Fraser have teamed up to bring Fraser’s Caravan to Newburgh.

“The team at Lindores Abbey have also offered up space at the distillery to hand out the drinks, and we might actually end up situating the business down there from time to time, too.”

“Anthony is the barista and I’m the pizza guy. He’s been working on a few different coffee recipes and I think we’ll host a tasting session on Saturday for people to try out the different kinds. He’s looking at a single origin coffee rather than a blend, so we’ll see what the public think.

“All we need to be able to provide the drinks is a coffee machine, a grinder and electricity to plug the machine into. The set up we have on the street will go into our caravan which we’ll be cooking up wood fired pizzas in.”

Pizza caravan

Shaun, who is from Portugal, has experience in running a pizza street food company having already operated the caravan he owns in Portugal for numerous years. It was here where he met his now business partner Anthony after falling short of staff one day.

The business will be stationed at Mugdrum Car Park in Newburgh initially.

He added: “I used to run a pizza business from the caravan in Portugal and I moved it over here at the end of October last year to start out in Scotland. I have always wanted to move to Scotland and I think it was more like Newburgh chose us, than us choosing it.

“I actually met my business partner Anthony in Portugal – he helped me out with food service at the pizza caravan one day when I was short staffed. We used to have live music playing and be serving up pizzas three to four days a week. He’s originally from London but has moved here with me to bring the business to Scotland.

Wood fired Neapolitan pizzas will be the focus at Fraser’s Caravan.

“We came to Scotland in September and had a look around different areas like Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh. We found a place for the caravan in Newburgh and we got to know the community more and really liked it. Once we figured out where we’d be based we headed back to Portugal for the caravan, shoved everything else we had in the car and pitched up. My friend Roberto Querido has also decided to join us in Scotland – he worked for me back in Portugal and wanted to come and support us. I’m currently training him up on cooking pizzas so he’ll be helping me serve up the food.”

What’s on offer?

With aspirations of launching as soon as they have their street traders license, Shaun and Anthony are raring to go and are looking forward to serving up freshly made Neapolitan pizza and hot drinks to the local community.

Offering a smaller menu initially, the pizzas will boast less toppings than fully-loaded American style pizzas and will be more focused on delivering on quality than quantity.

“In the car park, where we’re hoping we’ll be able to operate, we’d be allowed to open on Monday and Tuesday, so if we can find another spot in Newburgh to be based for another couple of days for the rest of the week then we’re onto a winner. We hope to have a more permanent base and will then look to do pop-ups around Fife, Cupar and more.

A range of pizzas will be available at the street food vendor.

“There will be a veggie option for sure, but all of the pizzas will be Neapolitan style with simple ingredients, say three or four. They won’t be loaded up like American style. I’m working on a vegan option too to ensure we cater for everyone.

“Once we get the go-ahead from the council we’ll be focusing on the hot drinks and things to start until we can generate funds to get the oven and the mixer. I think we’ll be making pizzas in about two months which is really exciting.”