With the cost-of-living crisis forcing nurses to frequent food banks, a young chef from London’s Brick Lane is taking it upon himself to bring a smile and a nutritious meal to exhausted hospital staff this winter.

Niaz Caan, 22, is the executive chef of City Spice which was voted Best Indian Restaurant in London in 2021. On Monday 21 November, following dinner service, in the early hours of the morning, Caan will launch his campaign.

Preparing and packaging up to 500 boxes of biriyani and delivering them to the nurses and health workers at Whittington Hospital in North London. Caan will then deliver to as many hospitals in the Southeast across a period of four weeks as possible – with the final delivery taking place on Christmas Eve.

Aiming to feed over 5,000 nurses, he will don a Santa outfit for the deliveries to help bring a smile during what is expected to be an extremely stressful, tiring, and busy period for the NHS.

Niaz has been cooking in professional kitchens since the age of 14 but has more to offer than culinary talent having secured a first-class honours degree in Economics in 2021 from the University of Birmingham.

Since then, he has quickly risen in culinary success, winning plaudits for his modern take on traditional Indian dishes at City Spice. He has chosen to offer a choice of chicken or vegan biriyani as they are among the most healthy and nutritious dishes on the restaurant’s menu. The meals will be delivered warm and ready to eat.

On launching the campaign, Caan says: “Following the past two years I think the NHS deserves better. After all they did for us during the pandemic, hearing about our nurses turning to food banks, being underpaid, and working in buildings that are falling apart is shameful. Whilst I can’t solve the problem, I hope that I can bring some joy and relief by delivering warm nutritious meals when they most need it and raise some funds to support staff and their families as we enter a very tough winter.”