Michelin chef backs new restaurant set up to support homeless in Edinburgh

A Michelin-starred chef is lending his cooking skills to a new restaurant set up to support the homeless.

Home is the latest venture by the team behind Social Bite – the successful chain of sandwich shops which allow customers to “pay a coffee forward” and invest profits to help vulnerable people get back on their feet.

Located in Edinburgh’s west end, one of Scotland’s top chefs, Martin Wishart, will create monthly specials and take to the kitchen himself once a quarter.

The restaurant, owned by Social Bite and operated by Dean Gassabi of Maison Bleue restaurants, is due to open in mid-September, serving French-Scottish cuisine.

It will provide training and employment programmes for members of the Social Bite Academy – the charity’s four-year course for homeless people – and the restaurant will open for a special service for the homeless every Monday afternoon.

It is the latest project of social entrepreneur Josh Littlejohn who welcomed celebrity customer George Clooney to one of his not-for-profit sandwich shops last November.

Mr Littlejohn’s restaurateur father Simon Littlejohn and David Wither of Montpelier Group are also supporting the enterprise.

Josh Littlejohn said: “We see this restaurant as the next evolution of the Social Bite concept. It’s a place where diners can come for an amazing dining experience, but also support some of the most vulnerable people in our society at the same time.

“We will be inviting the homeless community into the restaurant every Monday 3pm-5pm to eat with dignity – not to offer a hand out, but a hand up – to employment, stability and self-worth.”

Dean Gassabi of Maison Bleue said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Josh and the team at Social Bite on this exciting new venture.

“The idea of making a big difference in the community is something that was of big appeal to me and all of my team here, and we look forward to welcoming diners next month.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2016, All Rights Reserved. Picture (left-right) Josh Littlejohn, Dean Gassabi, David Wither, Martin Wishart and Simon Littlejohn who are involved in creating a new restaurant called Home in Edinburgh, where diners can help support the homeless.