10 minutes with: Jamie Scott, MasterChef: The Professionals 2014 winner

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st November 2015

Newport on Tay is about to become home to MasterChef: The Professionals 2014 winner, Jamie Scott’s first solo adventure, The Newport.

Overlooking the river Tay, it will offer modern Scottish dishes using local ingredients. We spoke to Jamie about his passion for supporting local producers, what we can expect to see on the menu and about how winning MasterChef: The Professionals has changed his career. 

Career to date

Jamie has been perfecting his skills for over 12 years, four of which were spent at the three Jamie Scott - Credit Laura McKinnon (10)AA rosette restaurant, Rocca Bar & Grill, St Andrews. But it was time to move on to his own project in Newport on Tay, a stone’s throw away from where he was born and raised in Arbroath, opened on Tuesday, March 1.

From a young age, Jamie was introduced to the workings of the kitchen. His mother, Winnie, was the personal chef to the British Ambassador of Berlin, and the first female sous chef in Britain. Helping out in his parent’s pub, The Colliston Inn, was where his interest sparked, albeit unintentional, “I used to play golf, but I had to earn money so I could buy the equipment! My mum started me with a little weekend job, just helping to make breakfast and bacon rolls, and it stemmed from there. They went on to buy a restaurant, where I started to work full time. I really built my way up in my mum’s kitchen.

"She was the one who showed me how to fry an egg, she showed me how to confit duck, she bought me my first cookbook. It’s my mum that took me on this path,” Jamie said.

Jamie worked at the restaurant alongside learning his trade at Angus Catering Collage. During that time Jamie’s mum used her industry contacts to send him on stages around the area to develop his training. 

“I definitely learnt more working, explained Jamie. "The problem with college is that they try to make it realistic but it’s really not. I definitely learnt more in an actual restaurant, being under pressure. I remember once, I was working in Dundee, and this 18 year old boy came up to me and asks ‘have you got any jobs going?’ I told him we were looking for a couple of commis, and he said ‘well I have just finished college and I’m a sous chef now’… that was quite an interesting conversation!”

Jamie Scott _ Credit Kate Lenart - Citylicious  (6)Food Style

Throughout his experiences in different restaurants, Jamie was able to perfect his own style, but often found it difficult when working under different chefs.

He said: “Obviously when you are cooking for a head chef or an executive chef, you cook to suit that style. At my mum’s pub, she wanted to cook using very traditional Scottish techniques; roasting, confiting, braising, and learning the basics there was really fun. The next restaurant was a Mediterranean restaurant with a Scottish influence. My first head chef job at Rocca saw me cooking Scottish dishes with an Italian twist, and it was nice to get those different aspects of cooking.”

His personal preference is to cook what makes him happy, using flavours that represent his Scottish heritage. he explained: “When you are happy eating and cooking something, then it makes sense to bring that into your restaurant, because it’s going to be just as good.”

Menu and ingredients

The menu at The Newport will have dishes that use techniques Jamie is passionate quote2about. The kitchen will contain a barbeque, where the chefs can create dishes such as barbeque lamb shoulder with chickpeas. Utilising his location on the river, The Newport will have an abundance of fresh fish. “People forget that there’s a butchery, bakery and fishmonger shortage," said jamie. "They are forgetting about all of these guys that support us. My fishmonger is actually the same age as me, it’s amazing! To be doing that at that age and to be so passionate about it… to me that is very exciting. So that’s where my connection starts, and it’s important that I support them as much as they support us."

Jamie will also be bringing in dishes from his time on MasterChef: The Professionals, including the rabbit dish that went down a hit with Marcus, an elevated version of the 'Brillat Savarin and Lemon Cake topped with Italian meringue with lemon macarons almond crumb, lemon curd and salted almonds served with a basil sorbet' dessert that helped him to win the competition.

MasterChef: The Professionals 2014

Since MasterChef: The Professionals 2014, Jamie saw increasing success throughout his time at Rocca and during the build up to launching The Newport.Arbroath Smokie Velouté with East Neuk Crab and  Tobermory cheese doughnut

He said: “I really got a confidence boost from having Marcus and Monica say how good the food was during the show. In the end they both offered me jobs in London, I felt wanted in this industry! Marcus said ‘stay at your job [at Rocca] a few more months, give them that respect. If you just leave it’s not very fair, so see how you feel and move on’. But what happened was that Rocca evolved with me, it grew up with me.

"The dinners were full, lunch was full. Everything changed - the equipment and five new staff members made it feel like a new job. I was very comfortable at the time, the food was always progressing, it wasn’t the kind of place where the food was stale, we just regained confidence and I grew and grew.

"I have been doing a lot of local work in Scotland because we feel that there’s not a lot going on outside of Edinburgh, so that’s why we are doing pop ups in the small towns where they don’t have access to a brilliant restaurant. The demand has been absolutely phenomenal, it’s unbelievable how quickly the pop ups sell. We are doing around 40 covers a night and they are selling out in about ten minutes. It’s a really nice feeling, I’m a very humble person so I don’t expect to sell out let alone sell out so quickly.”Jamie Scott serving up 'Ocean Fresh' served on dried fish skin, with Arborath Salmon, and Crab'

Recrutiment

Jamie has recruited five chefs for the kitchen at The Newport. The front of house, managed by his wife Kelly, has also been sorted. He believes in the motto ‘if you’re happy at home you’re happy at work’, and believes that this motto will ensure he doesn’t have to experience the chef shortage.

He said: “Unfortunately our industry is the last to change. I have worked in a few uninspiring kitchens that are just not very nice to be in. I want people to come in and be happy to work here, because if you’re happy at work you’re happy at home, if you’re happy at home you’re happy at work! You have to find that balance.”

The Newport will opens its doors on Tuesday, 1 March with bookings being taken from 9am on Friday, 26 February. Please visit www.thenewportrestaurant.co.uk for more information.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 21st November 2015

10 minutes with: Jamie Scott, MasterChef: The Professionals 2014 winner