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Aberdeenshire’s No.8 High Street cafe manager creates vegan flavour sensations while staying allergen friendly

One of the brunch dishes on offer at No.8 High Street. Image: Chris Sumner / DC Thomson
One of the brunch dishes on offer at No.8 High Street. Image: Chris Sumner / DC Thomson

After working as a chef in Glasgow, Beth Peter knew exactly the kind of cafe she wanted to create in the empty space in No.8 High Street in Inverurie.

The building was home to rental studios, used for things like dancing and kickboxing classes, but she had been given free reign over the reception area.

In her mind were visions of a cafe championing diversity, community and experimental vegan food, all the while being a safe space for people with allergies to relax and enjoy their food.

With her partner Eva Cairns at her side, Beth set about transforming the space.

We found out more about how the 24-year-old has been turning her vision into reality.

Beth Peter opened the cafe in 2021. Image: Chris Sumner / DC Thomson

How did you get into the hospitality industry?

My first job was in Inverurie Garden Centre when I was 15. The rest of the people my age were cleaning tables and working out front, but they put me in the kitchen straight away.

I didn’t have any experience, but from there I moved to Glasgow and worked as a chef in a vegan place called Stereo, then at Roots in Aberdeen, working my way up from a kitchen porter to running a dark kitchen during lockdown.

The opportunity came up at No.8, at first they were just hiring a cafe assistant but I  took it, then after a week they asked if I wanted to be the manager and take over.

What does the cafe do?

We opened in June 2021, but our kitchen only opened in November last year.

We started out doing coffees, which we get from Kilted Coffee in Mintlaw, and also smoothies.

Now we have the kitchen, we do a lot of brunch food, avocado toast is probably the number one thing that people always want. We also do pancakes and potato rostis, and our lunch menu with toasties and wraps.

Beth enjoys experimenting with vegan food. Image: Chris Sumner / DC Thomson

We have a small plates menu too, with things like courgette fritters, they’re popular because they’re allergen free.

Why did you choose vegan food?

When I worked in Glasgow and it was so different to what it’s like in Aberdeen. Working there and seeing all the different foods and customers, I thought ‘I want to do that, I don’t want to just make cheese and ham toasties’.

Myself and my partner, Eva, run the kitchen, so we try and keep everything not just vegan but allergen friendly so that there’s something for everyone.

We keep things accessible because I know people don’t want to eat vegan food all the time, I’m putting it out there that there are plenty of vegan options.

People rely on us because they know we will have something vegan and gluten free. They might not know where else to go so we automatically come to mind, and that’s nice to know.

Why is it important to you to offer allergen free food?

It shows people they can come to us with bigger groups with someone who maybe has an allergy and there will still be something for them.

The cafe space in No.8 High Street. Image: Chris Sumner / DC Thomson

We list every single allergen in everything. Making food accessible is really simple, it’s not hard to do, and it makes so much difference.

People are pleasantly surprised when they see the menu and every time that happens I just think ‘yes!’.

How many are on the team at the cafe?

There are eight of us, we’re all ladies and in our 20s or younger. It’s nice that we all have that in common, it’s like hanging out every day.

Christy Mathers, Beth Peter, Eva Cairns and Becca Jamieson. Image: Chris Sumner / DC Thomson

There are a lot of spaces in hospitality where it’s old angry men working in the kitchen, some people are surprised when they come for interviews. It’s where I would have wanted to work when I started out.

What kind of place did you hope to create?

The place I worked in Glasgow was queer friendly and went out of their way to make sure their team was diverse. After working there, I knew I wanted to run somewhere like that, it inspired me.

How often do you change up the menu?

The menu we have now was designed when we didn’t have the kitchen so I wasn’t as creative as I wanted to be, but I am in the process of changing it and we’ll have a new menu by the end of the month.

It’s really exciting because we now have people working here who have experience in a kitchen, and it has been a lot more of a team effort, we can bounce ideas off each other.

In the future, I hope to change the menu with the seasons, I don’t want to have anything on it that isn’t fresh. I like playing about and not sticking to one thing, that’s what gets people in the door, if you’ve got different styles and flavours in there.

What kind of people visit No.8?

It’s a mix of people who go to classes and who don’t.

We open at 9am but most classes are in the evening so we are open until at least 7.30pm, if there are people coming out of a class who want a coffee we’d never turn them away.

The team at No.8 have been perfecting their latte art. Image: Chris Sumner / DC Thomson

But we also get people coming to the door who don’t realise there are studios here or classes on.

There aren’t a lot of places open late for coffee so people will be out walking their dog or something and pop in.

Do you try to offer healthy food given you are so connected to fitness classes?

I always say healthy is different for everyone and what is important is eating a balanced diet.

We do a bit of everything, I’m not claiming any of our bakes are healthy at all, but there is the opportunity to have a treat or pick something more healthy if you want to.

When we first opened it was more health based, but we found there weren’t enough people looking for that, people wanted to go out and treat themselves.

You’ve been nominated for Best Cafe in Aberdeen in the Scottish Business Awards, how does that feel?

I just got a letter through the post to say someone had nominated us, I don’t know who it was.

The cafe offers a wide range of dishes. Image: Chris Sumner / DC Thomson

It’s definitely exciting, it’s rewarding. There’s not a lot of staff here but we all get along and we’re all friendly so I was like ‘thanks guys, look what we did as a team’.

Find out more about No.8 High Street cafe on Facebook and Instagram, vote for them in the Scottish Business Awards at