Serving Up A Tasty Future At Castlebrae

An education programme developed by Edinburgh International Festival(EIF) has, in partnership with award-winning event caterers Appetite Direct, who manage the theatre’s public café bar, launched a bright young talent onto Scotland’s culinary scene.

17year old Jai Parsons, a 5th year pupil at Castlebrae Community High School in Edinburgh, joined forces with Appetite Direct founder Nigel Kennedy to specially create a menu served at the EIF’s 2016 programme launches. Together they created a range of canapés which Jai conceived and developed with Appetite Direct’s experienced team of chefs and event specialists, which included Haggis gougères, choux buns, brandade of hake with aioli and mini savoury cones filled with onion relish and topped with whipped goats cheese.

Jai had the opportunity to work with Appetite Direct, a Living Wage Employer since 2015, as part of the EIF’s three year arts residency at Castlebrae Community High school. This is the second year of a three-year partnership between the EIF, Castlebrae Community High School and the City of Edinburgh Council Creative Learning Department, which includes workshops, events, bespoke mentoring and work experience. The programme not only includes activities focussed around the performing arts and EIF productions, but also highlights other aspects of the EIF’s work and the varied professional skillsets required in its delivery.

Already a talented amateur chef, Jai was offered professional mentoring with Nigel and the Appetite Direct team, who have been catering partner of the EIF for three years. He used his experience from his part-time job as a trainee chef at Prestonfield House to research his own ideas for the menu which were then developed and delivered with the Appetite team and has worked on site preparing and cooking canapés for a launch at the Festival Theatre.

Festival Director Fergus Linehan said, “Our creative learning work is an important part of our activity throughout the year. … And we can also help give young people the confidence to make their mark whatever road they follow. I’m keen that young people grow up seeing the arts as something they want in their lives. The International Festival looks to its own future of course, but I think we can also do our bit to nurture well-rounded thoughtful young people.”

During August 2016, the EIF’s Creative Learning will host internationally acclaimed Scottish actor Alan Cumming in a visit to Castlebrae Community High School to talk to staff and pupils about his life as a performer. They will also work with a group of local young people appointed as the Official ‘Festival Jury’ in conjunction with a project from Canadian company Mammalian Diving Reflex, to create and stage the International Festival Young People’s Awards Ceremony.