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 Edinburgh’s Princes Street and Skibo Castle in the Highlands as well as starring on his own BBC2 television cookery show.
Now Tony Singh, MBE, has turned his hand to creating bespoke recipes for people using foodbanks across Scotland.
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.
Launching the initiative at St Augustine’s Catholic Church in Milton, Glasgow, Singh, donned his blue and white stripped apron and demonstrated to volunteers and people using the foodbank how to cook the cheap and healthy meals with donated food.
“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, Edinburgh.
“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.”
The project is part of a partnership with Hilton Glasgow hotels to tackle food poverty as part of its Global Week of Service which also saw similar events around the world including one Cairo for vulnerable youths and another for refugees in Berlin.
Hilton chefs are supporting programmes in Edinburgh, Dunblane, Dundee and Aberdeen.
Father Paul McAlinden from St Augustine’s said: “It’s a privilege having Tony here, good for our users to experience a lovely meal and get tips in creating great food.”
Nitin Ramtri, general manager of the Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor, said chefs from six Hilton hotels in Scotland take part in programmes including food donations and offering work placements in Edinburgh, Dunblane, Dundee and Aberdeen.
“In Glasgow our chefs go to the foodbank once a month, set up tables with table cloths and napkins and prepare a meal and talk about the lovely food which can be made with donated food.”
Andreas Lackner, regional head full service brands, 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, 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.”