The celebrated Scottish chef is fundraising for dedicated premises for his at-home offering.

The Masterchef the Professionals finalist, chef Dean Banks, is fundraising to keep his Haar at home offering on the menu.

Before the global coronavirus pandemic, chef Dean Banks was due to open a second Haar restaurant in Edinburgh – a sister eatery to his St Andrews venture.

But this was put on hold and, like other businesses, Haar closed its doors in March amid the UK lockdown, and has remained closed since.

Haar at home

To keep busy and bring his restaurant quality food to customer’s homes, chef Dean Banks launched Haar at home, a luxury box of seafood to be delivered and cooked and enjoyed at home.

Haar at home has been a roaring success, with Dean able to re-employ staff because of it. Now the chef is hoping to keep the delivery service going, with the help of a crowdfunding campaign.

The £60,000 target, which is about halfway there, is to to continue the ‘Haar at Home’ offering within its own dedicated space.

Posting on the fundraising site, chef Dean said: “Given the circumstances brought on by COVID-19 we closed our doors at Haar Restaurant on 20th March.

“In order to protect the future of the business, the staff and our families we had to think of something ‘out of the box’. Ironically the box was the solution.

“We wanted to bring normality back into people’s lives at a time whereby they may not have been able to visit loved ones. Therefore we tried to do want we do best by delivering a fine-dining experience to those at home with simple instructions and steps to prepare the food regardless of the recipients cooking ability was our goal.

“Our initial offering of a ‘LUXURY LOBSTER & CRAB BOX’ created with local produce allowed us to give customers the chance to enjoy one of our signature dishes at home.

“Orders have grown at an incredible rate with hard work, effort and time being put in by the team. We have gradually been able to bring nearly all of our kitchen team off the government furlough scheme.

“During this, we have witnessed some incredibly creative and heartwarming messages from our customers. Many of whom have gifted boxes, celebrated special occasions, enjoyed their meals over video calls together or simply had date nights at home with tables set up to a standard that some restaurants could only dream of! This has been an incredible motivator and source of happiness for the team in these uncertain times.

“Customer feedback has been outstanding with over 100 5* Tripadvisor reviews since we started this project with inundated requests to continue this service following the re-opening of the restaurant.

“At present we are at capacity in our restaurant space. With restrictions lifting our restaurant will also be re-opening on 31st July. In re-opening, we have had to make a significant investment to simply re-open but to also keep our customers and staff safe.

“We are progressing with plans to open our very own dedicated unit, with a commercial kitchen, that will assist in the growth of the business and help it flourish. Creating new jobs locally and helping to continue to support our hard-working suppliers.

“All of our donations will be going towards equipping a commercial kitchen space and the operation for our ‘Haar at Home’ fine dining delivery experience.

“Donations and support would be muchly appreciated. We hope that our story can be a silver lining in these unprecedented times and you can be part of our story going forward.”

How to donate

Donations range from £15 through to £10,000 and the fundraiser has rewards for those donating, which include a customer name of choice to be added to the Haar at home box design and supporters wall in the new unit, a luxury crab and lobster box for UK delivery, the chance to be an official food tester for a year and full, private use of the restaurant.

To find out more and make a donation, please visit the crowdfunder website.

Last month Dean spoke to Catriona Thomson for our under the grill feature, where he revealed he plans to open a high end chip shop in St Andrews, which will be named HAARbour.

Under the grill: Chef Dean Banks from HAAR

About The Author

Rosalind Erskine

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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