Leonardo DiCaprio Greets Fans On Visit To Edinburgh Eatery That Helps Homeless

17 November 2016, 14:18

Leonardo DiCaprio Comes To Edinburgh


Hollywood A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio waved and signed autographs for fans as he arrived at an Edinburgh restaurant that helps the homeless during his first visit to Scotland.

The Oscar-winning actor was invited to visit the latest Social Bite venture by co-founder Josh Littlejohn, and he will later speak at the Scottish Business Awards in the city.

Hundreds of fans braved cold and wet weather to greet DiCaprio when he stopped for lunch at the Home eatery in Queensferry Street in the city's west end.

The Revenant star arrived at the restaurant in a people carrier and stepped out to cheers from fans, many of whom had been waiting for several hours to catch a glimpse of him and take photographs.

He stood for a couple of minutes at two pens set up on the street to sign autographs for some of the gathered enthusiasts.

DiCaprio made no comment to the waiting media as he shook hands with Mr Littlejohn and went inside the building.

Fan Carol Honeyman left her house about 50 miles away in Larbert at 5am to see DiCaprio.

She carried a large canvas of a scene from The Departed, which the movie star signed.

She said: ''I don't really know why I do these things but it was so worth it.

''I got this canvas signed before by Ray Winstone, and now it's complete with Leo's.

''I've actually met him before when I went down to the Baftas in London but it's just nicer to say I've seen him closer to home. He's a star.''

The visit sees the Wolf Of Wall Street actor follow in the footsteps of fellow movie star George Clooney, who met staff at a Social Bite sandwich shop in Edinburgh last year before making the keynote speech at the awards ceremony.

Home is a new establishment set up by Mr Littlejohn and Dean Gassabi, who owns the Maison Bleue restaurants.

It was set up to provide training and employment for members of the Social Bite Academy, a four-year paid course for homeless people.

Customers are also encouraged to ''pay forward'' meals for the homeless, who can attend a special meal service for those sleeping rough every Monday afternoon.

Social Bite has cafes in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen which operate the same ''pay forward'' scheme and employ a number of people who have previously been homeless.

Clooney's visit to the Edinburgh Rose Street branch made worldwide headlines, while the Duchess of Cornwall has also popped in on a royal trip to support Social Bite's work.

Mr Littlejohn also set up the Scottish Business Awards, with other high-profile speakers including Bill Clinton and Sir Richard Branson.

Awards chairman Sir Tom Hunter said: ''Leonardo is not only a famous actor, he is a pioneering environmentalist and committed philanthropist whose charitable work is making a global impact.

''To have him address our nation's premier businesses and entrepreneurs is incredibly exciting.''

Biffy Mackay, a trainee chef with Social Bite, helped prepare the meal for the movie star.

She said it was the ``most nerve-racking thing'' she has ever done, but was delighted to get a signed note from the star reading ``To Biffy, all the best'' after meeting him inside the restaurant.

She added: ''He was so nice, so down to earth.

''I told him I've loved him since I was nine and that I did a project about him at school, he said 'that's so cool'.''

Asked about her role in cooking the lunch, Ms Mackay said: ''I steamed his cous cous. He's having lamb tagine.''

The 28-year-old added: ''I've been given an amazing opportunity by Social Bite and I'm loving it.

''Social Bite's changed my life because it gives me something to look forward to every day.

''Previously I had some hard times with being homeless and a few issues with drugs and alcohol, so it wasn't a good time.

''But I love my work and I don't think there's another place like this.''