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Meet the new chef at Wavertree Coffee House


Discover Newmarket speaks with Stuart Drake, head chef at the newly, re-opened Wavertree Coffee House.

The onsite café at the National Stud has been closed since Covid hit in March 2020. However, we are delighted that this week it re-opens under the new ownership of Madly Bars. Discover Newmarket spoke to Stuart Drake, the new chef at the renamed Wavertree Coffee House to find out more.

So Stuart, what made you become a chef?

I had my first taste of life behind the scenes of a restaurant when I was 13 years as a part-time bottle washer. I vowed then, that kitchen life was not for me. Five years later I was back in the kitchen learning the trade and working my way up the ladder at nearby Tuddenham Mill.

With often long, unsociable hours, what is it that attracts you cheffing?

I just love the adrenalin of service. Learning to read what people want, hearing their feedback, seeing my dishes on Instagram and being talked about – there’s no feeling like it.

Talking of Instagram I heard your Sunday dinners went viral?

Yes, it was crazy! I was working at The Anchor in Burwell during the first lockdown, and I created the concept of a sharing roast as a takeaway. Next thing I know someone puts a post on Instagram praising my dinner and orders went up from 30 to 180 literally within a week. I have to say it was one of my proudest moments in my career to date.

Lunch bowl at Wavertree Coffee House

So, will we see Sunday dinners on the menu at the Wavertree Coffee House?

Certainly not straight away. Our menu is going to be focused initially on colourful, creative and nutritional dishes and we have some great brunch bowls on offer. Having said that we will still be serving the traditional full English along with a selection of toasted sourdough sandwiches and light lunches such as grilled chicken Caesar salad, red onion beef burger, charcuterie boards and Shetland mussels.

Other than roasts, what are your other specialities?

I love cooking on charcoal hence I’m a big fan of barbecuing, so watch this space on that one.

What changes have you made to the appearance of the cafe?

We haven’t made any drastic changes, but we have some new furniture including sofas and we’ve gone for muted shades to create a cosy and welcoming atmosphere. We still have seating outside and we are looking forward to seeing families utilise this area in the summer.

Are you a horse racing fan?

Well I wouldn’t say I’m an avid fan but being located within the grounds of the beautiful National Stud I’m guessing I’m going to start liking horses a whole lot more. I’m just waiting for my invite from you guys to go on one of your guided tours so I can find out more!

Well that can certainly be arranged! Finally, how are you feeling about opening week?

A mixture of excitement and nerves. I can’t wait to welcome our first customers and begin to establish regulars and really learn what people like the most on my menus. My nan has promised to bring all her friends along, and my nan knows a lot of people, so I’m looking forward to the rush!


Wavertree Coffee House is open Tuesdays to Sundays, 10 am until 4 pm. No reservation needed, just walk in and they accept cash or card payments. Don’t forget that Discover Newmarket’s guided tours of the National Stud run every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10.30 am and do need to be pre-booked. Click here to book your ticket.

May we wish Stuart and his wonderful team the very best of luck and we look forward to directing all our visitors straight into the café after their tour!