When the coronavirus outbreak struck, specialist artisan chocolatier and patisserie chef Naomi Longfield was forced to close her Newcastle café and feared the worst.

Naomi, who opened her café in 2019, quickly picked herself up and decided to pivot the business - focusing on her website to offer a personalised chocolate delivery service in and around the Newcastle area.

Studio 28 Patisserie offers a selection of boxes to choose from whether it’s cake, cookies, or chocolate and even a specially created COVID-19 emergency kit to help keep people’s spirits up during these difficult times.

Naomi said: “I’ve put my heart and soul into opening Studio 28 Patisserie, and I didn’t want to see all my hard work disappear overnight.

“While the café is closed, we’ve been working on a range of chocolate boxes that customers can buy online which are delivered to select postcodes throughout the week. These have proved hugely popular as birthday or anniversary presents during a time where people can’t dine out or visit many shops.”

Naomi has always been a foodie and, while studying for a maths degree at York University, she realised this wasn’t the path for her and decided not to finish her degree. Instead, she signed up for a patisserie and confectionary course at Gateshead College.

Naomi said: “The Gateshead College course set me on the route to opening my own business.

“As well as 1 to 1 learning in the classroom I also got the opportunity to do lots of work experience which proved priceless in getting me to where I am today. Once a week I worked in the pastry kitchen at the renowned Café 21 where I spent valuable time with Helen Doyle, a leading pastry chef in the region.

“Following my studies, I joined Gareth James, the chocolatier’s at Tynemouth where I learned so much about the chocolate business. I then went to Pink Lane Coffee where I gained just as much knowledge on coffee.”

There’s been a great response to the online service and Naomi is focused on growing her web store even more when the café reopens.

When she’s able to do so safely and in keeping with the social distancing rules, Naomi plans to add a click and collect service where customers can also buy pastries and coffees too.

Chris Toon, deputy principal at Gateshead College, said: “It’s great to see former student Naomi continuing to develop her successful patisserie business despite the enforced closure of her café; we’re really proud of her.

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“She’s had to think on her feet and fast track the development of her ecommerce offering to survive the pandemic. Her resilience is clearly paying off given the popularity of her personalised chocolate boxes and we wish her every success in the future.”

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