Citadel Youth Centre cook-along with Michelin star chef Tom Kitchin

“Tea Time with Tom” has seen those who use the Citadel Youth Centre taking part in online cooking classes with Michelin star chef Tom Kitchin.
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The project is the brainchild of the chef who runs The Kitchin in Leith and is aimed at trying to bring various people together by learning to cook.

Tom had suggested the idea to Willy Bar, centre manager at the Citadel, who has acted as a key ingredient in getting ‘Tea Time with Tom’ launched.

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Two sessions have taken place over the past two weeks where Tom has shown nine groups of participants how to make a perfect poached egg and a venison burger.

Willy collects a list of ingredients for the nine to ten participants and arranges for them to be delivered to people's homes.

Ingredients are funded by the Friends of the Citadel and Tom’s suppliers so that those taking part can do so at no cost.

The sessions are organised online and involve Willy filming Tom giving instructions to those sat at home. The participants will then follow each step and produce the meal which Tom has set out.

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Liam, a young person from the Citadel, said “I really enjoyed it and found it exciting to be able to cook with Tom. It showed me that things are easy when you get encouragement. I’d like to thank Tom and I hope he will do more in the future."

Tom KitchinTom Kitchin
Tom Kitchin

Monica, who takes part in the Old’s Cool intergenerational project, said: "I think it's brilliant for him to take us through the recipes and an excellent idea. To give time to people like me who live alone is just fantastic.”

A variety of young people, families and the local elderly community have been invited to participate.

Tom Kitchin, who brought the idea to Citadel, said: “With the current environment I wanted to give back to the organisations and charities that are on our doorstep.

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“The cook-along was a great mix. We had two young brothers who were hilarious and elderly members of the community who were isolating - it was a really nice and positive experience.

Ingredients for one of the cook-alongs with Tom KitchinIngredients for one of the cook-alongs with Tom Kitchin
Ingredients for one of the cook-alongs with Tom Kitchin

“It is amazing the difference it makes to people right now. Food is my world and I take it for granted with the things I know about nutrition or meals.

“I’m just in total awe of these local charities and organisations and the way they have managed to dig in and provide incredible services for those people who need a little help. The people behind these organisations are the real stars and if I can use my profile to show this then it means I’m helping too.”

Willy, who acted as sous-chef for the sessions was thankful to Tom and said that through the process he learned that one cannot substitute white wine vinegar for red wine when cooking poached eggs.

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He said: “This project has allowed people to feel special again and to get that one to one attention from a professional chef is a great experience for everyone involved.

“Folks have been cooking some really good stuff online and Tom’s banter has been amazing. We really appreciate the ongoing support he gives us at the centre and wish him all the best when he opens his restaurant back up.”

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