Cyrenians welcomes catering legend Prue Leith to its new cooking school

Homelessness charity Cyrenians welcomed Queen Margaret University Chancellor and catering legend Prue Leith to Leith yesterday to open its brand new Cook School and teaching kitchen.

The Cyrenians Food Education programme started 17 years ago with an old second-hand cooker, worth just £50, and is now opening a purpose built, eight station domestic training kitchen and Cook School, Flavour and Haver, where there is also a training/meeting room, offices and an attached dining room.

The Cook School in Jane Street offers a range of hands-on cooking courses that encourage healthier eating whilst showing students how to buy and prepare food on a low budget. Students learn about food hygiene and food safety, and grow their confidence in the kitchen whilst sharing their enjoyment of cooking a meal in a positive social setting, providing all attendees with both Something to Eat and Someone to Eat With.

Prue Leith said: “I am delighted to open this superbly equipped Cook School and teaching kitchen, and to see the enthusiasm of staff, volunteers and clients. Almost everyone enjoys cooking once they get stuck in and there is almost nothing more important than being able to cook healthily on a tight budget. Besides, cooking and eating together is a glue that sticks society together.”

The kitchen will be used to run classes to the public such as pastry and bread making, and classes that teach the basics of making every day healthy, cost-effective simple meals, today starting with Prue showing us how to make a tasty Ratatouille from scratch in under thirty minutes.

Ewan Aitken, chief executive at Cyrenians, added: “This great kitchen will transform the way we teach and allow us to reach many more people. We will teach more clients in a brand-new environment, and any monies raised from classes to the public will be reinvested back into the service we offer for those who need to learn to cook and shop for themselves.

“As our classes use produce from our own farm, and surplus food from our Fareshare operation the emphasis is on sustainability of produce and reduction of food miles, as well as Food Education.”

The doors open to this new state of the art £250,000 kitchen with thanks from Cyrenians for funding and support from CRASH (the construction industry’s charity), the Scottish Government, Bank of Scotland Foundation, Morrison’s Foundation, The Queensberry Trust, The Clothworkers Foundation and Dell Secureworks.