North East chef pair eye expansion as production kitchen takes off

Murray Rhind and David Kennedy, founders

A North East artisan bakery is celebrating a huge demand for its products, just six weeks after opening its doors.

Chefs David Kennedy and Murray Rhind joined forces with the Northumberland Pub Co to launch Kennedy and Rhind in August – supplying a wide range of bread, pies and pastries to restaurants and food markets around the area.

And less than two months after opening their production kitchen at The Beacon at Newcastle’s Westgate Road, the pair are already considering expansion due to a surge of orders for their fine food and baked goods.

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Among the business’ current clients are Newcastle’s The French Quarter, Hibou Blanc, The Earl of Pitt Street, The Northumberland Arms, at Felton and The Blackbird, at Ponteland, with a waiting list of other venues wanting to be supplied by them.

A former North East Chef of the Year, Mr Kennedy started his career at restaurants at leading London hotels Grosvenor House, Park Lane and The Halkin, at Belgravia, before moving to top Newcastle venues such as 21 Queen Street and The Apartment and opening his own award-winning chain of restaurants.

Mr Rhind spent 26 years as a chef in the Armed Forces, where he received a rounded culinary education from butchery to pastry, before joining the Sir John Fitzgerald group and discovering a passion for artisan bread after a masterclass with acclaimed Australian pastry chef Dan Lepard.

He went on to found two of the Fitzgerald group’s bakeries – including the one at the much-loved Café Royal, at Nelson Street – and has also worked for a number of restaurants such as Vallum Farm and 31 The Quay, at North Shields.

The pair, who have more than eight decades of experience in the food industry between them, have already taken on a part-time staff member and are looking to recruit an apprentice in the coming months to help with the growing demand.

“I’ve had the idea of opening an artisan bakery for about two years now and it was by chance that we found our current production kitchen, which gave us the final push we needed to actually go ahead with it,” said Mr Kennedy.

“We’re both really passionate about reinventing and modernising classic recipes, using seasonal, locally-sourced and even foraged ingredients to create some really high-quality products.

“It’s definitely a strange time to open a new business but it’s fantastic to have so much interest and being in the position where you have to turn away customers is certainly one of the better problems to have.”

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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