Scottish celebrity chef Jamie Scott is to open his very first restaurant in Newport-on-Tay.
The current Masterchef: The Professionals winner, who scooped the prestigious TV title last December, is to transform part of the former Newport Hotel in High Street into a top-class restaurant and bar.
Jamie, 27, from Arbroath, says he plans to spend more than £50,000 fitting out the kitchen alone, which he has also designed to meet his own demands.
He and wife Kelly, who is 26, will operate the restaurant together, with Jamie overseeing the kitchen and Kelly managing the public face of the restaurant.
And he revealed the choice of Newport for his first business venture had as much to do with the view of Dundee and the impending V&A as with the Fife town itself.
Revealing the plans, Jamie said he was: “Really, really excited about it. I’m very nervous of course but I’ve been thinking about doing this for the past sixteen months, so it’s not a new thing.
“Right from the start when you work in a place you want your own kitchen and with this we’re starting completely from scratch.
“It’s going to be over four floors, two restaurant floors, the bar and the kitchen above.
“We’re spending over £40,000 on the kitchen and it’ll cost around £10,000 for pots and pans and the other implements.
“I’ve always wanted to be my own boss and have Kelly working the front of house.”
Jamie, who made his name at Rocca Restaurant in St Andrews, was the unanimous choice of the TV show Masterchef: The Professionals three judges: double Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti and Gregg Wallace.
He beat fellow chefs Brian McLeish, who works in Aberdeen, and Sven-Hanson Britt to the coveted title.
But despite rubbing shoulders with some top celebrity chefs since his title-winning moment, and having watched some of his favourite chefs open their own restuarants over the years, Jamie revealed his biggest influence was his mum!
“She taught me lots and has been my biggest inspiration,” he said.
The theme of the ambitious new restaurant, Jamie says, will be “modern Scottish”, with lots of small dishes, but he stressed: “more Pincho (Northern Spain) style than than Tapas”.
“There will be sixty seats, which sounds a lot but I think there is definitely a market for it. I want to make Newport a favourite destination for people from all over, Dundee, Fife, Newburgh, Perth, even Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
“I think this area needs that. We were looking very seriously at Dundee and also in Fife. Working in St Andrews I know there is a big customer base from all over.”
The former hotel currently houses a choiropractor practice and an art gallery and commands outstanding views over the River Tay, which Jamie says was a big reason for his decision to locate his first restaurant there.
“I think the view from the restaurant over to Dundee and the V&A will be very inspirational,” he said.
“Dundee is on the up and up Newport is overlooking it all and this is a big commitment to the town.
“And having a second restaurant in Dundee is definitely in the plans, I’ve seen what Castlehill has done and I think competition is great and I feel we could definitely complement that.”
Jamie is planning to open the new restaurant towards the end of the year, or possibly early in January, 2016.
“Maybe that would be the best time, a fresh start to the year and a celebration opening.
“I’ve met a lot of friends through Masterchef so hopefully there will be a good few of them at the opening night.”