MSPs serve dinner for 40 in cookery challenge

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. Picture: Neil Hanna
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. Picture: Neil Hanna
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KEZIA Dugdale will be getting in the kitchen to cook a meal for 40 diners at a special fundraising dinner.

Comas, an Edinburgh-based charity that helps people struggling with loneliness, poverty and poor mental health, is putting four MSPs from across the political spectrum through a MasterChef-style challenge tomorrow night.

Labour leader and Lothians MSP Ms Dugdale, city MSP Marco Biagi, Jean Urquhart and Liam McArthur will jostle with each other in the kitchen to produce a gourmet cross-party meal for up to 40 paying diners at the Serenity Cafe in Holyrood. Each will be responsible for one of the four courses.

Rosie Kane, comedian and entertainer, will compere the evening and discuss the hot topics of the day while the MSPs are slaving over their hot stoves. Diners will be given a voting card and asked to rate each course on its taste and presentation.

The Serenity Cafe volunteers will rate their leadership in the kitchen and the winner will receive the MSP Chef Silver Serenity Spoon 2015.

Johnny Elmer, events and sponsorship manager at Comas, said: “This fundraising event brings together the trend for fine dining and our work helping people for whom finding money for a simple square meal each day is a struggle.

“The event highlights 
Comas’ work on projects like the Serenity Cafe and our anti-poverty project 20 More, which work daily to make a massive difference for people who are struggling.

“As a small charity, we urgently need funds to continue to have a big impact on people experiencing loneliness, poverty and mental ill-health.

“Opening up our kitchens to the sorts of politicians who can make a difference to these issues gives them a different insight into the challenge than they are used to, as our volunteers have experienced real problems they are fighting to overcome.

“We’re really pleased that Marco, Kezia, Jean and Liam have shown themselves to be game for a bit of fun, and some serious cooking, all for a good cause.”

Each diner will pay £50 for the four courses. There will also be a food fan’s auction at the end of the night with items such as cookery classes, three-course meals, and signed items from Michelin-starred chefs.

Mary Collins, head chef at the Serenity Cafe, said: “Cooking a course for 40 people is no mean feat.

“We can’t wait to see how the MSP Chef contestants tackle a challenge that’s very different from their day job.

“But, of course, I’ll be here with our volunteers to give them a helping hand.

“We’re preparing the menus at the moment and we’ll have all the ingredients ready.

“But we’re expecting each MSP to assume the role of chef for their particular course and get it from kitchen to diner as smoothly as possible.”