Glasgow’s popular, multi-award winning 111 by Nico is about to witness its biggest change to date.
But rather than the usual proceedings of delicious new concept menus, this is an uplifting story of hard work and determination meeting hope and friendship.
Nico Simeone will step down from the restaurant which will be taken over by close colleague and friend, Modou Diagne. 111 by Nico will close on Monday 23 March for refurbishment and re-branding to become 111 by Modou from Friday 3 April.
Modou, originally from Senegal, spent much of his younger life in Spain. At 18, Modou came to Glasgow by himself with only £200 in his pocket to look for an opportunity in life. He slept rough for 10 days until he found refuge in a Shelter charity church that helps the homeless and eventually he found permanent shelter.
After a year continuously applying for jobs with no success due to very poor English, he stumbled across a recruitment advert Nico had posted online or a kitchen porter at 111 by Nico. Within three minutes of the ad going live, Modou has applied.
Nico met and hired Moodu in June 2014. Within two months he noticed Modou had an unbelievable work ethic, a healthy respect and a positive attitude towards work.
Nico began to teach him the fundamentals of kitchen hygiene, to understand basic food ingredients, how to hold a knife, develop more complex skills and eventually the basics of cooking. Modou was able to save enough money working at 111 to move into a hostel and get off the streets.
From this point forward there was no stopping his ambition and drive to succeed within such a difficult industry.
Working with Nico over the years, Modou has played an intrinsic role in the 111 by Nico story and its success. He helped with the launch of previous menus such as the ‘Trust’ and ‘Total Trust’ concepts, and spearheaded the recently introduced and hugely popular 10-Course Tasting Menu.
Climbing up the ranks from kitchen porter to head chef, Modou’s journey at 111 is only the beginning as Nico offers him the opportunity to make his mark in the industry under his own brand, marking the next chapter in Modou’s inspiring and remarkable story.
Nico said: ‘The time feels right, for both myself and Modou. This has been a personal dream of mine since meeting Modou in 2014, not only getting to know him as a close colleague, but he has become like family to me.
‘Six by Nico is going from strength to strength, and as such there are increasing requirements for my energy to continue that development. There is no one I trust more to hand the reins to than Modou.
‘This is Modou’s time to write his own story in the industry, and I will always be there to offer guidance and support when he needs it. Modou is ready to begin his next challenge so as one chapter comes to an end for me at 111, another opens for Modou – and I am really excited about it!’
Modou said: ‘This opportunity is completely life changing for myself and my family back home. Having moved here in 2013, I would never have dreamed that I would be in this position seven years later.
‘My hard work has paid off but more so, this is a really special to me as Nico is like a brother. I am more than ready for this next chapter at 111 and I look forward to showing everyone in the industry what myself and my team can do here at 111 by Modou.’
111 by Modou will open on Friday 3 April 2020 at 111 Cleveden Rd, Kelvinside, Glasgow G12 0JU.
Bookings are now available at www.111bymodou.co.uk