Hollywood superstar Leonardo DiCaprio drew a huge crowd as he visited a new cafe in Edinburgh which was set up to help the homeless in Scotland.
The Oscar winner and environmentalist looked happy as he emerged from the new venture after lending his support to the good cause, and waved at the hundreds of people who had gathered to catch a glimpse of him.
But it was the staff at the cafe, who got to cook for him, that were the most thrilled.
It was the 42-year-old Titanic star’s first visit to Scotland, and he chose to visit the Social Bite restaurant, Home, after being invited by its co-founder Josh Littlejohn before he speaks at the Scottish Business Awards in the capital on Thursday night.
Leonardo enjoyed a lunch prepared by workers from homeless backgrounds under the guidance of acclaimed chef Dean Gassabi from Maison Bleue at the “pay it forward” eatery.
His meal was made by Biffy Mackay, Sonny Murray, Colin Childs and Joe Hart, who are all from backgrounds of homelessness.
For the four staff at the Social Bite, it was an incredible experience to be able to cook with their esteemed celebrity guest.
Biffy, who was homeless for five years before this new opportunity, said: “When you are homeless people don’t look at you, they look through you. I didn’t feel like a person back then, I felt invisible.
“Now I have totally turned my life around and it has given me such a big confidence boost to cook lunch for Leo DiCaprio. I have loved him since I was little girl, it’s a dream come true.”
Sonny said: “Three years ago I was begging and used to come into Social Bite for free food. I had a baby daughter on the way at the time, and wanted to get a job.
“I didn’t have many prospects at the time, I was in and out of prison and taking drugs. They took a chance on me and I grabbed it with both hands. I still have a full-time job and to have just cooked lunch for one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, Leo DiCaprio, is something I’ll never forget.”
Co-founder of Social Bite Josh said that Leonardo’s visit to Home was an “honour”.
He added: “The restaurant, which is a joint venture between Social Bite and a local restaurant group, Maison Bleue, aims to provide a great restaurant experience whilst at the same time giving customers the chance to ‘pay it forward’ for the homeless.
“Homeless people are then invited in every Monday to dine with dignity, as well as being offered job opportunities to help break the cycle of homelessness.
“For Leo to choose to highlight this initiative whilst in Scotland is very humbling and we are grateful to him for raising the awareness.”