MasterChef: The Professionals 2014 winner Jamie Scott, who owns The Newport Restaurant in Fife, has big plans for spring 2021.
Set to expand his foodie empire by moving his baked goods operation into a warehouse facility in Dundee, the chef also plans to open a second bakery and will launch a seafood shack, the first of its kind in the area this March/April.
Jamie, who opened The Newport Restaurant in March 2016 launched his first bakery premises, The Newport Bakery, in February last year, just before the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK in March 2020.
Due to demand and the shop operating seven days a week, he has now invested in a new production facility in the West Gourdie Industrial Estate in Dundee to keep up with demand and launch new products and services.
He said: “I’m moving the production of the bakery to a new space. The bakery shop itself is quite small with the room downstairs not big enough for us to be able to keep up with demand.
“We’ve taken on a warehouse in Dundee which will supply space for the bakery and my street food catering truck Smoking Barrels, and, it will boast an office space, too. We’re just moving the bakery stuff over now at the West Gourdie side of Dundee but when the restaurant reopens we may have to consider moving our ‘at home’ operation over there as well.
“We’ve had a lot of enquires for retail and wholesale of our bakery products so we intend to kick that off in March. We have a few people on board already. We will be keeping the shop in Newport-on-Tay High Street and there’s plans to open another shop in another location. The second shop will possibly be in Fife, I can’t say where, but the idea is for all of the baked goods to be produced at this one facility.”
With numerous successful businesses under his belt, Jamie says it is time to flex his offering and hopes to serve up his baked goods to another area, which he is keeping a tightly-guarded secret for now.
His bakery already supplies other venues with baked goods and Jamie hopes this new production facility will open more doors, too.
He added: “The shop does very well in Newport and the village has a thriving High Street and it is a nice part of Fife. We feel now is a good time to take the next step and supply another few places locally and further afield. We want to do a bit more, too, as people have been asking me to make things that we just can’t in the space we have.
“We make everything for the Daily Grind Coffee Shop in Dundee and Arbroath, which I’m also involved in. We have two of them and we opened the Arbroath one in October during the pandemic. It has just opened for takeaway so we need to make sure we’re servicing all of their needs.
“Once the one in Dundee reopens it will be really busy. The bakery also makes the buns for my street food truck, Smoking Barrels, too, so there’s a lot to it. We control everything for these venues, so this new production facility will really help us scale up and do everything we want to.”
New seafood shack
Looking to launch Fife’s first seafood shack, Jamie is excited to bring a whole new concept to The Newport Restaurant where the shack will be based.
Predicting that al fresco dining will be the big food trend for 2021, he hopes the new venture, which he plans to launch in the coming months, will attract even more people to the Newport area.
“At the front of the restaurant we have five car parking spaces which look onto the water. We’re going to be moving that. We actually put benches there at the end of last year to promote more outside dining. We’re going to be building a seafood shack there and run our own seafood bothy. That is going to be our main focus as I doubt hospitality will be open until April or May anyway, so when restrictions relax a little more for outside we are going to do stuff from there via the restaurant. These seafood shacks are really popular on the West Coast so we’re bringing the concept here. No one else has anything like it for 30 to 40 miles so we’re not stepping on anyone’s toes.
“My street food company Smoking Barrels is also something we’re looking to push this year as I think al fresco dining will be big. We did a couple of events last year and the plan was to really push it on. We had 75 events booked for it in partnership with The Big Feed in Glasgow, but obviously with Covid that didn’t happen.”
With his ‘at home’ dining service also continuing to prove extremely popular, especially over the Valentine’s weekend, Jamie knows he will have to hire more staff when all of the other operations kick into action. However, for now, he is concentrating on the staff he has, having brought nearly them all back off furlough.
“Because the ‘at home’ service isn’t too staff-heavy it really just relies on a few staff members who really know what they are doing. All of my team, with the exception of a few front of house are back,” said Jamie.
Absolutely mental week! 200 tasting boxes, all local, 150 boxes from the bakery as well! Plus we move into our new bakery unit tomorrow! Imagine if we went national! 😅 thanks for the continuing support, our best valentines weekend ever and the place is closed. 😳 #pushon pic.twitter.com/E6ms17Ppvg
— Jamie Scott (@mrjayger) February 14, 2021
“We will be recruiting more bakery staff and Smoking Barrels staff for spring. As soon as the restaurant reopens we will definitely need to bring more staff on. The restaurant was doing so well before all of this, but when we were in Tier 3/Level 3, we just made the decision to close as there was no alcohol sales and the 6pm closure was really no good for us. So we focused on the ‘at home’ stuff.”
“We have had a really good year with our ‘at home’ offering and have had the bakery operating seven days since it opened. The ‘at home’ stuff was planned to run two weeks of three-course menus and a week of beef wellington’s for two. Every week it has sold out and it just seems like this year the ‘at home’ meals have been selling out really quickly.
“The target initially for Valentine’s ‘at home’ orders was 50, then we moved it to 100, then 150 and finally up to 200. It just kept creeping up. I think the price point is something you have to get right. Some are really expensive and then others, I don’t understand how they do it, as I know how much the packaging costs. We can prep the menu within a day and a half, but it takes around two days to package, label and put instructions on everything. The prep is the easy bit, it’s the labelling, individual tubs, the bags and numbering everything that takes longer.”