Tell me about yourself.
I’m originally from Darlington and started out in hospitality after landing a job in a hotel kitchen. After gaining some work experience, I moved to Newcastle for university and studied Business Management, and worked at the Hilton Hotel too. From there, I worked my way up in the hotel industry and was proud to be a part of the opening team at Rockliffe Hall.
Where do coffee and bagels come into things?
I’ve always had a passion for coffee, and had a turning point in my career when I began working for Pret a Manger. I became one of their youngest General Managers and soon looked after all three shops (at the time) in Newcastle. Fast forward a few years, and I was given an opportunity to work for Pret USA and became the District Manager for all stores in Boston, Massachusetts, which was a fantastic experience. From there, I moved to London to join Gail’s Bakery and looked after 36 shops, before following my passion and opening my own coffee shop back home – Brew & Bite on Heaton’s Chillingham Road. Then, inspired by the ‘House Special’ bagels we used to enjoy in our favourite cafés in Boston, we decided to bring a little bit of the New York Deli culture home, and bring something new to Newcastle’s food scene.
How has the idea evolved as DOT has grown?
We started putting plans together at the beginning of the year, however, when our coffee shop was closed during lockdown, we took the jump and decided to launch a filled bagel delivery service. We had no idea how well it would take off. It started with myself hand-making, baking, filling and sending the bagels out for delivery, whilst Laura promoted them on social media and took orders over Instagram – all while looking after our two year old at home. It’s crazy to see how far we’ve come in such a short space of time.
Tell us about your new shop on Chillingham Road. Why there?
We are already residents on Chilli Road with our coffee shop only a few doors down, so it was the perfect place for us to expand. We still wanted to be part of the community where it all started. There are a few foodie hotspots now on the road – I would definitely recommend Flint for pizza and Patties for burgers.
Have there been any challenges or surprises?
Dough, dough, dough! Anyone who works with the stuff will know the love-hate relationship you have. We’ve had our fair share of dough challenges. As for surprises, it’s amazing how many people’s perceptions of bagels we have changed. Most people don’t realise how good handmade bagels are, as they are used to the store-bought products. We love it when we hear people say they never knew how much they loved bagels!
Tell us about some of the suppliers and producers you work with.
From the offset we have used the local butchers, Block n Bottle, who have just recently moved to Heaton. All their meat is locally sourced, free range and grass fed. We also use a local fruit and veg supplier in the Team Valley, and a lot of our dairy products come from Northern Pedigree. We also have a really great mix of retail products, which include local chutneys and jams too.
Without revealing too much, how do you make your bagels?
Believe it or not the whole process takes over 24 hours. Without giving away too many secrets, the dough is made using fresh yeast and slowly brought together to prove for around three hours. The flavours are then added, the dough is balled and then set to rest overnight. Once ready, they are holed, boiled and baked until perfectly blistered.
Best-selling bagel so far?
The Reuben (Block n Bottle pastrami, Emmental cheese, mustard mayo, gherkins and baby spinach) – hands down.
Personal favourite bagel?
It has to be the North East parmo. We always laugh that you can take the lad out of Darlo, but he still loves a parmo!
Where do you get the inspiration for your flavour combos?
Some come from places we’ve visited, or flavours we enjoy, but the whole team came up with our latest menu together, which is great.
Your tipple of choice?
A nice glass of Chablis.
Flat white every time (from Brew & Bite of course)!
Desert island meal?
Belly pork, steak with all the trimmings and peppercorn sauce, sticky toffee pudding and wine. Can I have two drinks? I’ll definitely need a coffee after.
The last place you had a great meal?
Thali Tray, Ouseburn.
A one off? Haha. Anything that involves spending time with the wife and the little one.
250 Chillingham Road, Newcastle NE6 5LQ