Edinburgh celebrity chef creates bespoke foodbank recipes

Tony Singh's recipes will be handed out at local food banks. Picture: Peter Devlin
Tony Singh's recipes will be handed out at local food banks. Picture: Peter Devlin
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He’s a celebrity Scottish chef and restauranteur whose glittering career has included high-profile stints at prestigious restaurants such as the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Balmoral Hotel on Princes Street and Skibo Castle in the Highlands, as well as starring on his own BBC2 television cookery show.

Now Tony Singh, MBE, has created bespoke, funky, recipes for people using foodbanks in the Capital.

The three new recipes - spiced neep soup, cheese cookies and bread soup - reflect Singh’s signature style of using local Scottish produce combined with fusion influences from around the world.

“I wanted to create something achievable people without a cooking background or were not taught could cook without having to have fancy equipment and a set of pots and knives,” said Singh, 46, a fourth generation Scottish Sikh who was born in Leith.

“People get a lot of good produce from foodbanks such as pasta, flour and pulses but I was showing them how easy it is to add a little bit of spice to bring some glamour and colour to a simple meal,” said Singh.

“If people are accessing foodbanks they get the same produce just about every time. Some people think something like chick peas are quite exotic so I was explaining how they are a great nutritious staple which can be made into things like dips or stews or can be used to bulk out soup.”

Singh launched the initiative at St Augustine’s Catholic Church in Milton, Glasgow, where he donned his blue and white stripped apron and demonstrated to volunteers and people using the food bank how to cook cheap and healthy meals with donated food.

The project is part of a partnership with Hilton hotels to tackle food poverty as part of its Global Week of Service. It held similar events worldwide including one in Cairo for vulnerable youths and another for refugees in Berlin.

Hilton is also working with the charity Social Bite in Edinburgh to offer work placements in its hotels.

Andreas Lackner, regional head for full service brands at EMEA, Hilton, said: “Global Week of Service is an annual week-long celebration recognising Hilton’s year-round commitment to enrich the communities where our team members and guests live, work and travel.

“I was proud to see so many of our team members working alongside food bank volunteers and our guest Tony Singh to provide warm meals, food and donations to support those experiencing hardship.”

Tony Graham, director of devolved nations at the Trussell Trust foodbank charity, said: “We’re always amazed by the innovative ways people want to help support foodbanks. We’re so grateful to Tony Singh for creating affordable recipes to help the people referred to us eat well on a budget. As demand for foodbanks increases, as does the cost of living, this will be even more important.”