Leonardo DiCaprio visits Social Bite restaurant to support Scotland’s homeless
Oscar winning actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio visited a new restaurant in Edinburgh yesterday which was set up to provide food, training and employment opportunities for homeless people in Scotland.
Four staff who are all from backgrounds of homelessness, Biffy Mackay, Sonny Murray, Colin Childs and Joe Hart, all helped prepare the lunch alongside acclaimed chef Dean Gassabi from Home, a partnership with Social Bite and Edinburgh Restaurant group Maison Bleue.
Biffy McKay, who was homeless for five years before joining Social Bite, said: “When you are homeless people don’t look at you, they look through you. I didn’t feel like person back then, I felt invisible. Now I have totally turned my life around and it has given me such a big confidence boost to cook lunch for Leo DiCaprio. I have loved him since I was little girl, it’s a dream come true.”
Social Bite employee Sonny Murray said: “Three years ago I was begging and used to come into Social Bite for free food. I had a baby daughter on the way at the time, and wanted to get a job. I didn’t have many prospects at the time, I was in and out of prison and taking drugs. They took a chance on me and I grabbed it with both hands. I still have a full time job and to have just cooked lunch for one of the biggest movie stars on the planet Leo DiCaprio is something I’ll never forget.”
Colin Childs added: “I used to beg in Edinburgh for five years, then I sold the big issue for another seven years. I have now had a full time job in Social Bite’s central kitchen for the last four and a half years and I have just moved in with my girlfriend. To have the experience of cooking lunch for such a big star is class and something to add my CV!”
Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, said: “It was such an honour to have Leonardo DiCaprio visit our brand new restaurant, Home. The restaurant, which is a joint venture between Social Bite and a local restaurant group Maison Bleue, aims to provide a great restaurant experience whilst at the same time giving customers the chance to ‘Pay it Forward’ for the homeless.
“Homeless people are then invited in every Monday to dine with dignity, as well as being offered job opportunities to help break the cycle of homelessness. For Leo to choose to highlight this initiative whilst in Scotland is very humbling and we are grateful to him for raising the awareness.”
A competition to dine with the Hollywood A-Lister was won by Elise Lovell, 45, from Edinburgh. Elise enjoyed a VIP lunch with the actor at Edinburgh’s Home Restaurant on Queensferry Street yesterday.
To enter the competition, all entrants were required to do was donate £5 to feed one homeless person at the restaurant.
Elise’s prize also included a night in the prestigious George Hotel and a city shopping experience.
The visit sees the Wolf Of Wall Street actor follow in the footsteps of fellow movie star George Clooney, who met staff at a Social Bite sandwich shop in Edinburgh last year.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Holmes/Social Bite