Why we are the best option in Scotland
They make quirky, eco-friendly and low-cost business bases - but shipping containers don’t always like winter.
So says Anna Hedworth, whose Cook House restaurant won national acclaim after being set up in a couple of shipping containers.
Having just about managed to get to the Ouseburn Valley at the height of the Beast from the East, Anna found the lock and door to the restaurant frozen solid, leaving her no option but to shut up shop for several days.
“And the water had frozen, the loo had frozen. It was awful. I cried - frequently.”
This soul-destroying experience was one of several factors that cemented Anna’s determination to move out of the now famed Cook House eatery into a bigger, bricks-and-mortar base.
And while she may be excited for the future at Foundry Lane Studios, she explained why she has had a brilliant time, trailblazing the use of shipping containers in the North East.
“It was a series of coincidences that led me to open Cook House in August 2014,” she said. “I was working as an architect for site architecture but wasn’t really enjoying my job, and while seeing what else I could do I started doing supper clubs and local markets.
“Then I became involved in a project with the firm I was working for, turning two shipping containers into a ‘meanwhile’ gallery and artists’ space. One of the projects was to run a supper club – and that’s when I thought ‘why don’t I set up here?’.”
The two 40ft containers, which had been procured for free from the Shepherd Offshore shipyard, which had planned to scrap them, were then rented by Anna who used her skills as an architect to turn them into the artisan cafe.
“It was a very low cost, llow-riskway to start and I just needed £8,000 to start up. When you think of how much restaurants typically have to pay that’s a drop in the ocean.
“I did all the design work myself and it was super basic, putting up a couple of walls, creating a storeroom, installing equipment, furniture and lighting and creating a garden.”
The resulting space is open for breakfast and lunch Monday to Saturday, from 9.30am to 3.30pm, with room for 20 covers with Anna, who blogs as The Grazer, changing the menu on a monthly basis.
And it has grown fast in popularity amongst discerning food lovers, who were just as much a fan of the surroundings as the food.
Source: Chronicle Live
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