Blackfriars was opened in 2001 by Andy and Sam Hook following on from the success of the critically acclaimed Sidney’s Restaurant in Tynemouth. The restaurant is now run by a team of exceptional staff headed up by General Manager Ruth Hall and Head Chef Dan Duggan.
"a former physicist who once blew himself-up on stage, Andy is not your conventional restaurateur!"
Andy is originally from Cambridge and graduated in Physics at Swansea University where he preferred playing electric guitar and drums in rock bands, more famous for their pyrotechnics than the quality of music!
He then headed for the big lights of London where he watched Marco Pierre White (youngest British chef to win 3 Michelin stars) open his famous first restaurant, Harvey’s in Wandsworth, a stone’s throw from his flat.
Four years on, and being attracted by the legendary nightlife, the increasing cultural activities, the seaside and Newcastle United, Andy moved to Newcastle to work in manufacturing and then shortly after met his wife Sam who was working for a local newspaper.
Quickly tiring of the rigours of factory life and with a burning passion to enter the life of a restaurateur, he opened Sidney’s Restaurant in Tynemouth (since sold) followed by Blackfriars a few years later.
Andy’s passion for all things food (especially medieval cooking) remains undiminished and he can often be seen at the North Shields’ Fish Quay and various farmers’ markets as well as his own allotment.
Aside from Blackfriars, Andy advises and mentors many other catering businesses and is a member of the EAT! Food Festival steering committee and the City Centre Business Forum.
His wife Sam is the Marketing Director at Blackfriars and also runs her own PR and marketing firm called Uniquethinking.
Andy and Sam live in Newcastle with their two daughters, and mad dog called Biscuit.