One of the West End’s top restaurants is in new hands – after a remarkable act of generosity.
111 by Nico on Cleveden Road is being rebranded and will reopen next month as 111 by Modou.
The restaurant has been built up by chef Nico Simeone into one of Glasgow’s leading eateries.
But the name behind the Six by Nico brand has handed over the keys to his deputy and new owner – Modou Diagne.
It is a gift for his loyalty, determination and hard work, he says.
Nico will now step down from the restaurant which will be taken over by his close colleague and friend.
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 ten 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 3 minutes of the ad going live, Modou had applied. Nico met and hired Modou in June 2014.
Within two months he noticed Modou had an unbelievable work ethic, a healthy respect and a positive attitude towards work – the qualities any one should look for in any employee.
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.
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.
‘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’
“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 Diagne 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 3rd April 2020 at 111 Cleveden Rd, Kelvinside, Glasgow G12 0JU.