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Nick Nairn blames downturn for closure of his cook school in Aberdeen

Nick Nairn in his Aberdeen Cook School
Nick Nairn in his Aberdeen Cook School

Celebrity chef Nick Nairn has announced the closure of his Aberdeen cookery school as the oil downturn continues to affect trade in the city.

Mr Nairn will shut the business at the end of June and bosses are now in consultation with one full-time and four part-time employees about their jobs.

The school has welcomed more than 60,000 customers since it opened six years ago, with about 4,000 culinary enthusiasts learning how to make the perfect steak in that time.

Despite that popularity, Mr Nairn says the enterprise has been hit badly by the oil downturn and is “no longer sustainable”.

The chef has, however, pledged to extend the opening hours of the adjoining Nick’s Pizza Bar on Back Wynd.

His Aberdeen Cook School launched in May 2012, with Mr Nairn saying he had been working on the project for five years.

The venture was sparked because his school at Port of Menteith, near Stirling, received a disproportionate number of visitors from the north-east, apparently “fuelled by the buoyant oil and gas sector”.

Once open, the venue offered day-long and shorter classes for up to 24 people, while the pizza and wine bar opened on its ground floor in 2016.

Mr Nairn said: “We enjoyed a great run of custom for years, but like many other businesses in Aberdeen and the surrounding areas, we are not immune to the downturn in the north-east economy.

“Our corporate custom suffered in particular, for understandable reasons.

“We have worked exceptionally hard for the last 18 months to diversify our offering, but we have now reached a point where the Cook School is no longer commercially sustainable.”

Mr Nairn and his partner, Julia Forster, sent an email to “loyal customers” yesterday advising them they were “saddened” by the closure.

From May, the pizza bar will open seven days a week from noon to 10pm.

The 14 kitchen staff, who work between both the cook school and restaurant, will not be affected.

City centre business group, Aberdeen Inspired, last night urged any other struggling firms to get in touch and arrange support.

City manager, Geoff Cooper, said: “In the current economic climate, local businesses need the support of the public more than ever and Aberdeen Inspired has a crucial role to play.”

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