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‘One of the best Christmases I’ve had’: Aberdeen chef and volunteers host festive meal for those with nowhere to go

Jordan Clarkson, of Premier Meal Prep, hosted the Christmas Day meal at So Aberdeen
Jordan Clarkson, of Premier Meal Prep, hosted the Christmas Day meal at So Aberdeen

An Aberdeen chef and a group of volunteers spent their Christmas Day hosting a meal for people who had nowhere else to go.

Jordan Clarkson, of Premier Meal Prep, cooked up a storm and welcomed a group of 10 to So on Union Street to enjoy a festive three-course meal.

“It was absolutely fantastic and a real eye opener for everyone that was involved. It was a very emotional day all round,” he said. “People spend Christmas with their families and it’s easy to forget there’s a lot of people that don’t have anywhere to go and places to be. It was a nice reminder that not everyone is as fortunate.”

Jordan Clarkson and volunteers Dave Brebner, Marysia Dolbniak, Steven Sneddon, Greg Robertson and Barry Stephen. Photo by Chris Sumner/DCT Media.

Bringing people together

Mr Clarkson originally had plans to host a bigger event on Christmas Day but Covid concerns and planning logistics meant it turned into a smaller meal.

“It was more intimate and we got to speak to everyone. It was just like a family sit down dinner,” he added.

“This was one of the best Christmases I’ve had in years and for some of them there, it was the first time they’d had a home cooked meal in years.”

Jordan Clarkson and Anne, from California, who joined the meal. Photo by Chris Sumner/DCT Media.

They worked with Aberdeen’s Community Outreach Group (COG) and invited in people experiencing homelessness and those who were spending the day alone.

“There was so much food that I needed people to come in. I overcooked on everything, there was way too much food,” Mr Clarkson continued.

“What ended up happening was people were walking past and were wondering what was going on and even more people came in. It was a great day.”

One woman who joined the meal just happened to be passing So on Christmas Day looking for a place that was serving food.

Mr Clarkson shared that Anne, from California, stayed after some initial reluctance and told him that it was the first time in years that she had sat down for a meal with others.

The group spoke honestly about their lives, including sharing experiences of addiction and other struggles, with offers made for continued support.

Looking forward to next year

Jordan Clarkson cooked the meal on Christmas Day. Photo by Chris Sumner/DCT Media.

The Aberdeen-based chef and the group of volunteers served up a delicious three course meal which was “thoroughly enjoyed” by everyone.

They all started with a bowl of honey roast parsnip soup with homemade bread before the main event of turkey and all the trimmings. For desert, the guests tucked into sticky toffee pudding with ice cream.

“One of them did request ham shank broth for next year,” Mr Clarkson added.

“They had about three plates full of food each and left with takeaway boxes and juice to go. A few of them got Premier Meal Prep t-shirts, so they were well chuffed.

“We were all sitting around having a good time.”

When asked if he has plans to host another event next year, Mr Clarkson said: “I’ll definitely be doing it again, 100%.”

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