Scots teen chef goes global with Indian competition just three years after starting work experience in humble Edinburgh cafe

A SCOTS teenage chef has gone global after being chosen to compete in a competition in India just three years after starting as a work experience placement in a humble Edinburgh cafe.

Aidan Lyon first set foot in Cafe Grande in the capital city’s Bruntsfield area as a 15-year-old high school student on work experience.

Since then, the 18-year-old has secured a part time job at the bistro under the watchful eye of owner Robbie Park, which he balances alongside his studies at Edinburgh College.

Aidan has blown his bosses away in his time there, culminating in a recent trip to India after being invited to compete in the Young Chef Olympiad (YCO) – where he was awarded Best Young Chef Ambassador.

The young chef has impressed his bosses and lecturers.

Facing off against other young chefs from over 60 different countries across five days in Delhi and Kolkata, the competition marked Aidan’s first time travelling outside of the UK.

And his trip saw him not only pick up a new skillset, but also one of six gongs for “displaying exceptional culinary talent and skills beyond just the final cook-off criteria”.

Just before leaving to compete in the international competition, the Edinburgh teen’s boss Robbie took to social media to show his support for the rising star.

He took to Cafe Grande’s social media page last month to write: “Aidan joined us three years ago on work experience, he’s been with us ever since.

“A popular, talented and respected colleague, he was picked to compete in the Young Chef Olympiad in India. We’re so proud of him and wish him a great adventure.”

The post quickly gained over 100 likes and dozens of comments from locals wishing Aidan luck.

One user said: “That is amazing. Hope he has a fantastic time.”

Another added: “Talented young man. Good luck.”

A third replied: “We wish him luck. The dishes at the wine-tasting were delicious.”

Speaking today Robbie, who has owned Cafe Grande since 2016, said: “He started with us just before his 16th birthday on a work experience program from Forrester High School.

“He now attends Edinburgh College (Granton) where he is in his second year of a cooking course, it was through the college he got involved with the YCO.

“Aidan works with us part time whilst attending college and is always involved in our wine tasting events and busy weekend service shifts.

“Aidan has just returned from a week in India, his first time out of the UK.

“He represented Scotland in the opening ceremony wearing his kilt along with his tutor from Edinburgh College.

“He was cooking for five days in competitions in Delhi and Kolkata, coming up against young chefs from 60 different countries.

“It’s made me and the kitchen team really proud seeing Aidan develop from a nervous work experience kid into the chef that he is today.

“There’s still a long way for him to go, but if keeps working hard, learning and developing then there’s no question that he has a great career in front of him.

“But he’s not allowed to leave Cafe Grande anytime soon!”

Speaking today Aidan added: “It was such an amazing experience travelling to India and being involved in YCO.

“I never thought I’d be involved in something like that, and it was really eye opening. I didn’t get much sleep, but I didn’t really need it, the excitement of what I was doing just kept me going.

“Meeting other chefs from around the world was really interesting, we all have a lot in common. Although our food is all really different, the challenges we face are all the same.

“I learned a lot from going to YCO, I’ll never forget it, and I’m looking forward to trying out some of my new ideas.”


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