Stuart Forster interviews chef Jamie Scott of The Newport Restaurant at Newport-on-Tay near Dundee, Scotland.
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Many British foodies recognise chef Jamie Scott from his success on television in 2014. Jamie was the winner of MasterChef: The Professionals. He opened his own restaurant, the Newport Restaurant at Newport-on-Tay, across the River Tay from Dundee, in March 2016.
Jamie grew up in Arbroath, half an hour’s drive from Newport-on-Tay. He spent four years working at the Rocca, a chic bar and grill restaurant overlooking the Old Course at St Andrews.
In 2015, following his success on MasterChef: The Professionals, Jamie moved on to cook in pop-up restaurants and took spots as a guest chef.
Chef Jamie Scott
Jamie is helping to change perceptions about Scottish food, whose stereotyped image is of being unhealthy. His dishes feature high-quality, locally sourced ingredients.
“I think it’s the local produce and about supporting your local supplier. From fishing boats to the local butcher shop; I’ve got friends in all of them. That’s from the industry, cooking over the past 11 or 12 years,” he says.
“I’ve taken that same influence to Fife, the food capital of Scotland just now. The delis, the cheese and the meats – it’s an amazing place to be right now,” adds chef Scott.
“We use quite a lot of local fish, including a lot of line-caught mackerel and use crabs caught at Angus, just outside Arbroath. We have amazing lamb from just north of Arbroath as well. There’s a drinks brand, Arbikie Vodka, from just outside Arbroath,” explains the highly regarded chef.
You can purchase Arbikie Vodka online:
“One of my favourite dishes to do right now is based on a tattie field. All my family grew up in Arbroath. One of my first jobs was digging up the tatties in winter. So I’ve got a dish called the tattie field, based on potatoes all grown just outside of Arbroath on the farms,” says Jamie. It features potato soup, bacon, Maris Piper potatoes plus black pudding ‘soil’ and creme fraiche.
Home-style baking and golf
Jamie admits his family have had a “massive” impact on his career.
“My mother was the first female sous chef in the United Kingdom and my first cooking was probably my Gran Lou’s baking. I used to sit in the kitchen and watch her. My mam and dad were in charge of a golf club in Hamilton, just outside of Glasgow, and they used her home baking. My Gran used to make hundreds and hundreds of cakes. I used to watch her in awe as she made amazing brandy baskets, millionaire shortbread or scones. She used to make hundreds every day,” he recalls.
“When we moved up to Arbroath my mum and dad bought their first restaurant, a pub. I was in there very young, helping out and making some money. That’s where I got ideas; everything I learnt, my mum showed me. She’s the one who arranged for me to go and work in different places, using her connections. I went from Inverness to Thurso to London, all through her connections, so she was a massive part in it,” he says.
The Rocca and MasterChef
Working hard in a small team at the Rocca also helped Scott develop his skills. The restaurant held two AA rosettes when he joined and, shortly afterwards, added a third.
“After three months I helped them clinch three rosettes. It was one of 24 places in Britain to have three rosettes, so it was a really exciting time to go in,” he recalls.
Jamie describes the experience of participating in MasterChef: The Professionals as “invaluable” and the critical feedback offered by the judges as “very fair”.
Winner of Masterchef: The Professionals
“Their feedback was key to me winning…I improved every dish,” he adds. “Every round I was getting better… and worked as hard as I normally do.”
Winning the MasterChef title has had a positive impact on Jamie. “It’s given me a lot of confidence in my cooking ability and myself,” he comments.
His wife Kelly, who he met in a restaurant more than 10 years ago, will be involved at the front of house. “She’s my best friend and my rock…I’m not worried about people not being welcomed in because I know how she’ll do that and what she brings to the rest of the team,” says Jamie
Opening the Newport Restaurant marked the beginning of a new chapter for the talented Scottish chef.
Have you dined at The Newport Restaurant or enjoyed Jamie Scott’s cooking elsewhere? You’re welcome to share your experience in the comments field below.
Location of Newport Restaurant
The map below shows the location of Jamie Scott’s The Newport Restaurant:
Accommodation near Newport-on-Tay
Looking to stay near The Newport Restaurant? Find hotels in nearby Dundee via Booking.com:
Books about Tayside and Scotland
Are you planning a trip to Dundee and the Tayside region of Scotland? You may find the following books insightful:
Charles McKean is the author of Lost Dundee: Dundee’s Lost Architectural Heritage:
Norman Watson is the author of Dundee: A Comprehensive Guide for Locals and Visitors:
Brian King is the author of Dundee Rediscovered:
Looking to cook Scottish dishes at home? Carol Wilson and Christopher Trotter are the authors of Scottish Heritage Food and Cooking: Explore the Traditional Tastes of the Highlands and Lowlands with 150 Easy-to-Follow Recipes:
Helen Ochyra is the author of Scotland beyond the Bagpipes:
The Newport Restaurant at Newport-on-Tay
The Newport Restaurant is at 1 High Street in Newport-on-Tay (tel. 01382 541449).
For information on things to do in the region around Dundee see the Visit Scotland website.
Stuart Forster, the author of this post, is an award-winning writer. His work has been published by the likes of BBC Good Food, Food and Travel and Four magazine.
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A version of this post was first published on Go Eat Do on 28 February 2016.
Thanks to Canva for the use of the royalty-free photo on the Pinterest pin below: