Heartwarming tale of top chef who gave job to homeless man he met outside his restaurant

Harriet Brewis
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Heartwarming tale of top chef who gave job to homeless man he met outside his restaurant

A top chef has been praised after hiring a homeless man to work in his Manchester bistro.

Gary Usher offered the man a job as a kitchen porter after meeting him outside his restaurant Kala.

The 37-year-old, whose bistro group has won numerous awards including AA Restaurant of the Year, has been praised by thousands of people and said he was "made up" by what had happened.

He said the man, known only as Derick, was due to start work on Wednesday.

Mr Usher wrote on Twitter: "Leaving Kala last night about midnight in my chef jacket & got talking to a homeless guy. He asked me for cash & I didn’t have any & there wasn’t a cash point anywhere.

"As I walked off he shouted Mate got any jobs!? I walked backed to him & said F***ING RIGHT I DO..."

He continued: “He said he’d do anything. I replied, mate, you don’t need to do anything, I have a kitchen porter position available and you could do some food prep too.

"He was f***ing made up & so was I. He asked me when I was next in? I said I’m there every day. He said tomorrow? Yes I said…”

The chef documented the rest of his exchange with the man in a series of tweets.

They have received a combined total of more than 25,000 likes in 16 hours, and seen the chef branded a "life changer".

He continued: “He starts Wednesday. He was f***ing buzzing. I’m buzzing."

The Elite Bistros group founder continued his Twitter thread by asking his social media followers for logistical advice on how to get Derick on his payroll, because he is homeless.

“Can someone help me? What do I do about him having no address ? How does it work with him having no details? Whatever it is I’ll sort it. I just need to know,” he wrote.

Charity executives, homeless shelters and local support centre representatives replied within minutes to offer their guidance and services.

Mr Usher’s next update revealed he had spoken to Derick’s daughter Chantelle, who had encouraged her father to accept the role in the city-centre restaurant.

She tweeted that the chef was “a legend”, to which he responded: “It’s your dad that’s the legend. What an absolute f***ing star! Can’t wait to work with him X.

“Seriously I don’t think I’ll have a better day in 2019,” he added.

Mr Usher went on to thank supporters for the “lovely lovely words being sent my way”, but insisted that praise should be directed to his new employee.

The 37-year-old opened his first restaurant in Chester, called Sticky Walnut, in 2011.

He has since crowdfunded towards the launch of his other restaurants, including Burnt Truffle in Heswall, Wreckfish in Liverpool, Pinion in Prescot and Hispi in Didsbury – which has hosted guest chef nights from the likes of Tom Kerridge.

In March 2019, he raised £100,000 in 11 hours to continue work on his Kala, which opened at the start of May.