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Social enterprise pub launches new venture in Edinburgh

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New menu offered by social enterprise pub group to train disadvantaged youngsters

Scotland’s only social enterprise pub group has unveiled a chef training programme that aims to give disadvantaged young people the qualifications for a career in catering.

Beer for Good said the programme was the next step in the creation of an academy for catering and hospitality staff, and that it was already looking to expand the programme to other venues throughout the country.

Head chef Matthias Sandler, of Edinburgh-based Beer for Good, said: “We’re going to recruit young people who maybe haven’t done well at school, or who have struggled to find work, and give them the support and training for them to become fully trained chefs, and help turn their lives around.”

Sandler revealed he developed an “adventurous” new tapas menu that would enable his trainees to learn a broad range of cooking styles and ingredients, while still delivering high-quality restaurant food to customers.

He added: “This is beautiful food, beautifully presented. We’re being adventurous with our offering, giving the customer some exciting options but also enabling me to give a classic chef’s training in our kitchen. It won’t be easy, and nothing will be getting served that isn’t perfect.”

The new menu was created in conjunction with Chris Thewlis who runs Edinburgh’s Harry’s Bar, which was reopened last year as a social enterprise pub.

Thewlis said: “Harry’s is about delivering fresh, honest, cooked food, about being consistently high quality, while at the same time supporting people and helping them build a career for themselves. The fact we’ve designed our menu around this initiative shows how committed we are.”

Sandler and Thewlis said they would be using their contacts in the hospitality sector to give trainees work experience in other cities and other kitchens, such as in venues in Aberdeen and St Andrews, and with fellow chefs, including one well known Michelin chef.

“We want them to experience a banquet kitchen, a hotel kitchen, fine dining, as well as the corporate sector, which is where the bulk of the jobs are,” said Sandler, adding: “Trainee chefs need to appreciate the different types of kitchens you get so they know which direction to take in life.”

Thewlis said they would be taking on full-time apprentices in the kitchen at Harry’s in Edinburgh’s west end as well as its sister venue Southside Social.