Cyrenians have a new Cook School and who better to declare it open than the catering legend Prue Leith.

Earlier today Ms Leith who is a cook of some skill but also Chancellor of Queen Margaret University visited the new school and teaching kitchen in the city’s Jane Street to teach some cooking and also cut the ribbon.

The kitchen cost £250,000 and was paid for with funding from Cyrenians, CRASH (the construction industry’s charity, The Scottish Government and the Bank of Scotland Foundation, Morrison’s Foundation, The Queensberry Trust, The Clothworkers Foundation and Dell Secureworks.

The charity’s programme to teach cooking and domestic training began about 17 years ago with an old second-hand cooker. This new venture is called Flavour and Haver and has a meeting room, offices and a dining room attached. The students will be encouraged to learn about healthier eating and buying and cooking on a low budget. Today Prue Leith was teaching Joe and his colleagues how to make ratatouille and then she signed their new Cyrenians aprons for them!


Additionally students will also be taught food hygiene and safety while sharing their culinary skills in a positive social setting.

Prue Leith said : “I am delighted to open this superbly equipped Cook School and teaching kitchen, and to see the enthusiasm of staff, volunteers and clients. Almost everyone enjoys cooking once they get stuck in and there is almost nothing more important than being able to cook healthily on a tight budget. Besides, cooking and eating together is a glue that sticks society together.”

Ewan Aitken, Chief Executive Cyrenians said : “This great kitchen will transform the way we teach and allow us to reach many more people. We will teach more clients in a brand-new environment, and any monies raised from classes to the public will be reinvested back into the service we offer for those who need to learn to cook and shop for themselves. As our classes use produce from our own farm, and surplus food from our Fareshare operation the emphasis is on sustainability of produce and reduction of food miles, as well as Food Education.”

Prue Leith started up a business in Edinburgh in the 1960s which became Leith’s Good Food a party and event caterer. In 1969 she opened Leith’s, a Michelin starred restaurant, and in 1975 she opened Leith’s School of Food and Wine to train professionals.

For nearly 50 years, Cyrenians has served those on the edge, working with the homeless and vulnerable to transform their lives by beginning with their story, helping them believe that they can change their lives, and walking with them as they lead their own transformation. Find out more here .