|A new patisserie serving artisan chocolate and luxury pastries opens in Newcastle on Wednesday.|
Chocolatier and chef Naomi Longfield has set up Studio 28 Patisserie in Hoults Yard, Newcastle’s business village.
She has been running a wholesale business for several months, and had been looking for the right premises in which to open her own patisserie.
“It’s a journey that started ten years ago – I was studying a maths degree at York University and realised that it just wasn’t for me. I wasn’t sure what to do and had always been interested in food so signed up for a patisserie course at Gateshead College,” explained Naomi.
“That led me into the pastry kitchen at Café 21 where I worked with Helen Doyle, their executive pastry chef, once a week. After qualifying from college, and completing my work experience at Café 21 I joined Gareth James, the chocolatier’s at Tynemouth. I spent three years there and learned so much about the chocolate business,” she added.
From Gareth James, Naomi moved on to Pink Lane Coffee. “I learned as much about coffee there as I’d learned about chocolate at Gareth James,” Naomi said.
After a year at Pink Lane, Naomi signed up to do a course at the prestigious Cocoa Black chocolate and pastry school in Peebles, Scotland.
“I’d completed one course and then overheard a tutor saying someone had dropped out of their showpiece chocolate sculpting course, so asked straight away if I could do the course instead of them. They agreed – and it turned out there were five Michelin-starred pastry chefs and me!” explained Naomi.
After successfully completing the course, she landed a job at the Hakkasan Group, one of the world’s most distinguished restaurant brands.
“Having promised I would never move to London, I did so and lived there for four terrific years.”
Working under the tutelage of Chefs Graham Hornigold and Daniel Pearse, Naomi started at the bottom and ended up running the pastry kitchen of Hakkasan’s Hanway branch.
“I learned everything from how to plate desserts, to development and management. It was a learning curve and a half, but one I will forever be grateful for. Over the past ten years I’ve had the chance to learn about chocolate, coffee and patisserie and with Studio 28, I have the opportunity to bring all that experience and learning together,” she explained.
Naomi, who was born in Newcastle but brought up in India where her parents were missionary school teachers, had been searching for the right location for the patisserie for some time.
“I’d looked at so many different places and had almost given up, concentrating on the wholesale business supplying Pink Lane Coffee, the Backyard Bike Shop and Papa Ganoush in Jesmond, with chocolate and cakes, but then I came and had a look at the space and it was perfect – just the right size with great views across Hoults Yard,” said Naomi.
“There’s a real feeling of community here and I want to be part of that,” she added.
Naomi will initially concentrate on producing her hand-made chocolate and fine cakes herself, but plans to take on more staff and expand her range when the time is right. She also hopes to deliver chocolatier and pastry chef courses. The name Studio 28 comes from Naomi’s age.
“I’ve learned so much over the last ten years and visited hundreds of coffee shops in London so I just want to put into practice what I know. There’s space for about 15 customers in the patisserie and of course I’ll be serving Pink Lane Coffee, so I’m hoping to be kept busy” she said.
Studio28 Patisserie can be found at Unit 2 on Hoults Yard and Naomi’s opening hours are Monday to Wednesday 10am – 4pm; Thursday closed; Friday and Saturday 10am – 4pm and Sunday closed.
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