Nick Nairn is to close his Cook School in Aberdeen at the end of June but has confirmed that he will remain in the city with his pizza restaurant business, Nick’s Pizza Bar.
The Aberdeen Cook School launched in May 2012 as an expansion of Nick Nairn Cook School in Port of Menteith, near Stirling and was catering for the growing demand for cooking experiences in the north-east fuelled by the buoyant oil and gas sector.
Offering full-day and shorter classes for up to 24 people, the Cook School is based on the first floor of a listed building in Back Wynd, formerly St Nicholas Kirk’s old church hall in the city centre, while Nick’s Pizza Bar is located on the ground level.
More than 60,000 customers have enjoyed culinary classes in Aberdeen since its opening – with in excess of 4,000 customers learning how to cook the perfect steak and 2,185 perfecting their beef wellington – but the downturn in the north-east economy in recent years means that the Cook School business is no longer commercially viable. Staff were notified of the decision yesterday.
Nick Nairn explained: “Expanding into Aberdeen had been a long-term passion of mine as we had a huge number of loyal customers regularly travelling from the north-east to our Cook School in Port of Menteith.
“We enjoyed a great run of custom for a number of years but like many other businesses in Aberdeen and the surrounding areas, we are not immune to the downturn in the north-east economy. Our corporate custom suffered in particular for understandable reasons and we have worked exceptionally hard for the last 18 months to diversify our offering, but we have now reached a point where the Cook School is no longer commercially sustainable.”
Aberdeen Cook School will close on 30 June 2018. The Cook School will ensure that everyone who has purchased gift cards will be able to redeem these prior to its closing. Customers are encouraged to contact the booking line to arrange a class. The Port of Menteith Cook School is not affected and remains busy with a number of new initiatives in the pipeline.
Nick add: “Despite these challenges, we have been really encouraged by the vibrant success of Nick’s Pizza Bar located on the ground floor of the premises and will now concentrate on expanding that operation. We remain committed to maintaining a presence in Aberdeen so from 1 May the restaurant will open seven days a week from 12pm – 10pm. We will also make a small refurbishment to the space in the first two weeks of July and are currently exploring further opportunities for Nick’s Pizza Bar in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
“We’d like to thank everyone who has supported the Aberdeen Cook School during the last six years and our incredible team who have made every effort to make it work in really challenging times.”