By Cara Sulieman
SCOTLAND’S youngest Michelin star chef Tom Kitchin was recruited by hero soldiers from 3 Rifles yesterday – to help cook up a storm in a supermarket to raise money in memory of their fallen colleagues.
Kitchin helped the combat chefs dish up tasty breakfast rolls to customers at Tesco in Colinton, Edinburgh – proving it’s not just an Army that marches on its stomachs.
The battalion want to build a memorial garden at Redford Barracks so that they have somewhere to go to remember the 20 soldiers from their regiment who have so far died in Afghanistan.
And with a constant stream of hungry customers despite yesterday’s miserable weather, they were bang on course to raising the £2,500 target for the day.
“Remember the fallen”
Head Chef Sergeant Danny Kay, said that the garden would provide a much needed place for the soldiers, and that every little helped from kind hearted customers.
He said: “The idea behind the memorial garden is to remember the fallen.
“They are all from all over the North East and sometimes it is too far to go and remember them at their gravesides.
“At the moment there is nowhere to congregate and pay our respects.
“The memorial garden will give a focus for this, and it will allow visitors to come and do the same thing.
“We are looking to feed as many people as possible during the day and their donations for the meals will go towards the memorial garden fund.”
And even the strong winds battering the tent didn’t compare to the extreme conditions the army chefs usually work under.
Sgt Kay said: “We cook wherever the soldiers are, that’s our job. As chefs we are quite resourceful.
“We have a variety of equipment, but can also improvise – making ovens out of old ammunition boxes and barrels, that sort of thing.
“We provide a decent meal that is designed for the working soldier.”
Celebrity chef Tom Kitchin got stuck in, frying up eggs for the breakfast rolls.
He has known the cooks from the 3 Rifles since he appeared on the Great British Menu in 2008 and was keen to support their fundraiser.
He said: “I was lucky to spend the day with some of the boys when we did a day filming for the Great British Menu and cooked using up all the rations.
“They come down the restaurant as well and I have got to know them.
“It’s very different type of cooking it’s completely different. When the soldiers come in from the battle field they don’t want fancy food, they want fuel.
“I’m delighted to be here to help.
“I think it is really important to have a place for remembrance to honour the fallen.
“3 Rifles are at the heart of the community in Colinton and the loss of our heroes is felt by every one.”
Lynne Roxburgh, Local Marketing Manager for Tesco, said: “We are delighted to be able to help and we’ve been overwhelmed by the offers of support from our local Scottish producers who have been keen to get involved and donate ingredients.
“3 Rifles are such an important part of this community and we are pleased that we a re able to help support them with this event.”
The 3 Rifles Battlegroup is currently on operation in Helmand Province, Afghanistan until April.
Work is currently underway at the memorial garden, which will feature a memorial stone with an inscription to the fallen soldiers on a paved area in the centre.
It will officially open on May 7, the day before the Homecoming Parade along the Royal Mile.
Donations from a number of businesses, including paving slabs, benches and a memorial stone worth £15,000, have made the garden possible.
Kitchin got his Michelin star in 2007.