By Kristy Dorsey

The re-launch of an award-winning Glasgow restaurant by its former kitchen porter is set to go ahead next month after being delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Nico Simeone announced in March that he was giving ownership of his original 111 restaurant in Kelvinside to Modou Diagne, a young Senegalese man who arrived in Glasgow via Spain at the age of 18 with just £200 in his pocket. After sleeping on the streets and in homeless shelters, he landed a job in 2014 as a kitchen porter at what was then known as 111 by Nico.

He worked his way up in less than six years to the position of head chef, by which time Mr Simeone was heavily involved in expanding his Six by Nico portfolio of restaurants. Citing Mr Diagne’s “unbelievable” work ethic, Mr Simeone said in March that as from April 3, the restaurant would be re-branded 111 by Modou operating under the young chef’s stewardship.

READ MORE: Six by Nico chef gifts first restaurant to former kitchen porter

Those plans were put on hold by Covid-19 crisis, but work has now resumed to transform the restaurant at 111 Cleveden Road. It is currently due to open in mid-August with capacity reduced from 46 to 28 covers to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“Having moved here in 2013, I would never have dreamed that I would be in this position seven years later,” Mr Diagne said. “I am more than ready for this next chapter at 111 and I look forward to showing everyone in the industry what I can do here at 111 by Modou.”

During lockdown, which brought a halt to most activity across the restaurant and pub trade, Mr Diagne helped provide emergency food and support to some of the most vulnerable people in Glasgow by cooking weekly meals for St Gregory’s Church in Maryhill. He also assisted Mr Simeone and his team with the launch of the “Home by Nico” delivery venture that served more than 100,000 people to keep the business going while the restaurants were shut.

READ MORE: London calling for Glasgow’s Nico Simeone

“Throughout lockdown I was busy helping my mate Nico cook and prepare the Home by Nico kits and had the chance to give something back to the community who helped and supported me from the moment I arrived in Glasgow,” Mr Diagne added.

“The city and the people who live here have welcomed me with open arms and I am forever grateful.”