Covid Haar lifts for Scotland’s Masterchef finalist

Covid Haar lifts for Scotland’s Masterchef finalist

Dean Banks

A Scottish Masterchef finalist and restaurateur has taken some of his staff off furlough and re-employed them at his award-winning restaurant after being inundated with orders from across the UK for his home deliveries of fine dining lobster dinners.

Dean Banks, 32, a finalist in the BBC Masterchef series in 2018, opened his first restaurant last year, but had barely clocked up his first year at Haar in St Andrews when the coronavirus lockdown forced him to close.

Mr Banks furloughed his staff and faced an uncertain future until launching his luxury lobster and crab boxes in early May. When demand took off among his existing client base, Dean decided to promote the concept further afield on social media and has been stunned at the uptake with almost 500 dinners weekly, starting at £60 per box, being shipped out to addresses across the UK.

He said: “After all the hard work of setting up a new restaurant and building a loyal clientele, the COVID closure was a devastating blow to us. My first thought regarding home deliveries was to supply roast dinners. But as an option they didn’t reflect what Haar has to offer. People want something to make their weekends sparkle and to celebrate special occasions, so we wanted to offer a fine dining experience and Scotland’s fabulous seafood was the answer on our doorstep.”

He added: “After quite a bit of experimentation and working out how to home-deliver a restaurant standard meal, we settled on the luxury lobster and crab box which are oven ready with optional champagne. And the response has exceeded our wildest expectations. We’ve grown from supplying 50 to 500 boxes a week in just a month with customers as far south as Bristol.”

Mr Banks has also now developed his range on offer.

He explained: “After listening to feedback, we’ve launched a Best of Land and Sea, a surf and turf box which we designed for Fathers’ Day but which has really taken off.

“It’s been fantastic to be able to take some of our dedicated staff back to work full-time and we’re now looking at additional new premises to continue the service after Haar is able to re-open.”

  • Read all of our articles relating to COVID-19 here.
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