Children 1st thanks Edinburgh restaurant for making 2,500 meals for children

Throughout the coronavirus crisis we have seen communities and companies come together to support families most affected by the pandemic. As the Maison Bleue restaurant in Edinburgh opens its doors again, Children 1st would like to say a huge thank you for everything they did while they were closed.

Dean and Layla Gassabi of Maison Bleue have spent June cooking more than 2,500 meals for children in Edinburgh who were going without the hot lunches they'd normally receive at school.

The idea came from Petroleum Experts (Petex), who approached the Gassabis and asked them to select a worthwhile cause. Children 1st and Choices for Change were chosen as partners and Petex generously provided the funding to make the project happen.

For all of June and July, the team at Maison Bleue produced 100 meals a day for Children 1st, which were delivered to 25 families.

Co-owner Layla Gassabi said: “Children 1st Parentline revealed a huge surge in demand in the first week of lockdown, and one of the things mentioned was parents’ ability to provide food. A hot meal is something that many families simply can’t have.

“It was an absolute no-brainer for us to get involved.”

Lisa Glenday Murdoch, Head of Philanthropy and Partnerships at Children 1st, said: "We are delighted to have partnered with Choices for Change to give local children and families some stability in these challenging times.

"Thanks to Maison Bleue and Petroleum Experts, parents knew their family would get a healthy meal, children were able to try new foods, and families enjoyed special time eating together."

Dean Gassabi, who founded his Victoria Street restaurant in 1998, said: "If it wasn't for Petex funding this, we wouldn't be able to do it, so we are very thankful to them.

"There are families who don't have money to eat - it's got to that stage.

Aware that children can be fussy eaters, the Maison Bleue kitchen, which normally specialises in high-end Mediterranean cuisine, has been making food that has the right balance between being tasty and healthy.

Layla said: "It's a balancing act to provide something that's tasty but also healthy.

"We were keen to make sure the children are getting their five a day, so we incorporated that inside a lot of the sauces. That way we can make a really wholesome, tasty meal, with all the goodness packed in too."

There is one day in the week that went down particularly well with the kids! Each Friday, the Maison Bleue made sure they got a sweet treat, such as a banoffee pie or chocolate fudge cake.

At a time when our services have never been in higher demand, it has been wonderful to see these acts of kindness happening across Scotland. Everyone at Children 1st would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Maison Bleue and Petroleum Experts.