Citadel Youth Centre hosts high-class banquet
THE guest list included the likes of city council chief executive Andrew Kerr and former Hibs manager John Hughes.
But the young cooks and waiting staff were well prepared – as they had been taught by some of the best in the business.
Youngsters from the Citadel Youth Centre hosted a banquet last night, having spent weeks going through their paces under the tutelage of Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin.
The black-tie dinner was held to mark the launch of Friends of Citadel – an initiative designed to support the centre, which has served families in Leith for the past 35 years.
Tom held a series of masterclasses at his The Kitchin restaurant – just across the road from the Citadel – where the youngsters not only learned the art of cooking, but key life skills such as planning, discipline and team-work.
As six youngsters prepared the food, another 12 served up the delights, having been trained by The Kitchin’s Maitre d’ Sylvain Ranc.
Other guests included Sir Andrew Cubie, the former head of CBI Scotland, and the Scottish Government permanent secretary Leslie Evans.
Tom said: “It’s been a pleasure for me to support the team on this journey, from helping to create the menu and sourcing the ingredients to having them in my own restaurant The Kitchin to learn about seasonal produce.
“Watching them showcase their new skills in front of their guests was a proud moment and I’m looking forward to seeing how each of them develop.
“You never know, we may have a Michelin star chef amongst us.”
Hughes, who also played for Hibs, was one of the first ever members of the Citadel and is now the centre’s ambassador.
He said: “My time at the Citadel taught me about respect for others, how we can support each other as friends and as a community and how we can bounce back from tough times.
“There is a little bit of the Citadel in every club I have managed and every player I have coached.
“I have taken the values I learnt in the early 80s and looked to instil them in others – respect, support, team-work, value each other.
“In many ways, the people of Leith need the Citadel now more than ever.
“We don’t have the same number of jobs, the role models and the opportunities I had.
“We owe it to the community to make sure that the Citadel continues to support young people.”
Citadel manager Willy Barr said the banquet had been a great experience for the youngsters.
He said: “Tom Kitchin is a superstar of the culinary world and when I first approached him about the supper he said ‘This will be a challenge’.
“I want to thank him, his team and all the young people for accepting this challenge.”