• “Compassion is the radicalisation of our time.” Dalai Lama

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    “The power of sharing a meal”

    As a humanitarian, Leon is a catalyst helping transform lives for the better, with a broad dedication to and belief in the fundamental value of human life. He is on a personal mission to ensure that:

    “No one to bed hungry, there is always enough food to share.”

    Leon is driven by the following principles and beliefs:

    • to focus on our shared humanity, not on our differences
    • to create a deeper connection and more understanding between people
    • the power of collaboration and the strength of human spirit
    • the power of sharing a meal

    He pledges to deliver on his mission through leveraging food: creatively sharing his love of it and encouraging others to embrace this too to create positive impact.

    Leon's work is informed by causes relating to children, civil rights and social action, inequality, education, the environment, human rights and poverty alleviation. He is passionate about addressing food insecurity (the measure of an individual's ability to access food that is nutritious and sufficient in quantity). This includes reducing food waste by putting any surplus to good use.

    To learn more about Leon's Story - My Life in Food (click HERE), Leon's Services & Case Studies (click HERE) and to contact Leon or download the Leon Aarts Media Kit (click HERE).

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  • Leon's Recipes for Good

    enjoy these unique recipes that retell Leon's story in food - in his own words

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    Spicy Eggs

    Spicy Eggs was comfort food and was served and it was shared in the Calais Jungle very often.

    Whilst eating Spicy Eggs we shared our stories and dreams, our hopes and fears. When you are in a situation stripped away from your labels and without any social pressures you focus on what we have in common, our shared humanity not our differences.


    It is a dish which I still cook very often and brings me many memories of the amazing people I have met.


    4 eggs

    2 tsp fennel seeds

    1 tsp cumin seed

    1/2 tsp mustard seeds

    1 tsp Aleppo chilli flakes

    1 red onion, finely diced

    1 knob of fresh ginger, grated

    2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

    1 red pepper, finely diced

    6 vine tomatoes, diced

    2 tbsp of olive oil

    extra virgin olive oil, to serve

    1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped 

    How to Make It

    Heat the oil in a large heavy pan and add the fennel, cumin, mustard seeds and the Aleppo chilli flakes. Sauté for a few minutes minutes


    Stir in the onion, ginger and garlic and cook until slightly soft. Then, add the red pepper and tomatoes. Cook for 12-15 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken.


    Taste and crack the eggs on top. Simmer gently for 7 minutes until the eggs are cooked. Serve with a bit of olive oil, fresh herbs and some yoghurt

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    Aioli - Garlic Mayonnaise

    Cooking is alchemy and I love how by bringing certain ingredients together we can create something totally different.

    I was trained in France and still love all the French techniques.

    This is a very refined French recipe.


    4 large cloves garlic, peeled

    1 egg

    2 egg yolks

    1 tablespoon white vinegar

    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

    3 tablespoons water

    3/4 teaspoon salt

    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

    1 1/2 cups canola oil

    pinch piment d'espelette

    How to Make It

    You can do it by hand, but it's better to use a blender. Poach one egg in boiling water with a bit of white vinegar.

    Boil the garlic twice, split in half so it's a little less pungent.


    Blend the poached egg, the yolks, garlic and other ingredients together, then slowly add the oil till you get a smooth silky mayonnaise.


    Add a table spoon of water to ensure it doesn't split and is nice and silky. Taste and season.

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    Basic Fish Soup

    Food is alchemy. When alchemy truly happens the result is bigger than the sum of its ingredients. In food there are some great flavour combinations which go well together.

    Here are a few examples:

    • Vanilla and cream
    • Chocolate and orange
    • Tomato and basil
    • Chicken and tarragon

    When we follow a few simple rules the results will be amazing, as it will be in our own lives. We have to understand the basic laws of nature, when we understand these we can start to apply and play with them.

    When I had my restaurant I used to make a delicious basic fish soup, it had only four ingredients. The whole recipe was based on the quality of the ingredients and a basic understanding of cooking and what happens when
    you combine ingredients. The skill was to know exactly when to add the next ingredient.


    10 finely sliced shallots

    1 bottle Nouilly Prat

    750ml fish stock

    750ml double cream

    How to Make It

    This whole recipe depends on doing things right and understanding the basics. Life and achieving great things is exactly the same.


    Sweat the shallots in a bit of olive oil without colouring until they are soft and cooked. Add the Nouilly Prat and reduce until a thick golden syrup is left. Add the fish stock and reduce by half. Then add the cream, bring to the boil and season.


    That’s all there is to it. You can use this recipe as a basic fish soup or reduced with some flavourings as a sauce for fish. Yet the same ingredients done in a different way can be disastrous.  


    Using up any surplus waste food

    WATCH this video with Leon and Chef Dan to be inspired by how and why creating quick meals out of surplus food makes sense on every front. (Credit: The Felix Project)

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  • “The stove is the shrine where I convene with my ancestors” Adam Ragusea