TWO young chefs have become East Renfrewshire’s answer to Ant and Dec...thanks to their own version of Saturday Night Takeaway.

As many restaurants face a bleak future due to the Covid pandemic, Andrew Reid and Robert Noble’s business delivering gourmet meals to the homes of celebrities and sports stars is going from strength to strength.

The two school pals found themselves furloughed and struggling for cash as lockdown took its toll.

While plenty of outlets were supplying cheap fast food, they realised that serious food lovers were missing out on the fine dining experiences they would normally enjoy at their favourite restaurant.

They came up with the idea of three-course gourmet meals that are freshly made and delivered to customers at home the same day.

Prep to Plate was launched in December and the two chefs are now delivering hundreds of dishes a week across the country.

Barrhead News: X Factor star Nicky McDonald is among those who are singing the praises of Prep to PlateX Factor star Nicky McDonald is among those who are singing the praises of Prep to Plate

Their latest celebrity customer is comedian Jason Manford, who bought 15 meals while filming new game show Unbeatable in Glasgow.

The former 8 Out of 10 Cats presenter picked Prep to Plate after advertising on his own Facebook site for a firm to prepare food for him.

Manford, who is from Salford, revealed he wanted to avoid living off Deliveroo takeaways during his time in Scotland. He later posted his thanks to Andrew and Robert on social media.

Prep to Plate’s regular customers now include 2013 X Factor star Nicky McDonald, wrestling ace Wolfgang and Old Firm football legends Ian Durrant and Jackie McNamara.

Specialities include spicy cod and risotto, cajun chicken and salt and chilli pulled brisket, with customers able to buy three meals for £15 or 10 for £45. There are also vegan options, such as mushroom miso ramen.

All ingredients are sourced locally in East Renfrewshire, with the meals made on a Saturday and delivered the same day.

Andrew, 27, cut his culinary teeth at House for an Art Lover, in Glasgow, and the David Lloyd Club, in Thornliebank, while 26-year-old Robert is a former chef in  the Newton Mearns branch of Miller & Carter and the Wagamama chain.

They have known each other since their days at Williamwood High School, in Clarkston, where they were in the same class for Home Economics, which prompted their love of cooking.

The pair initially set up Prep to Plate as a weekend venture to feed family and friends, as well as earning some spare cash.

It operates from a temporary base in the kitchen of Glasgow Hutchesons Aloysians (GHA) rugby club, in Braidholm Road, Giffnock.

At first, all of the firm’s customers were local but it now delivers meals to food fans across Glasgow, Edinburgh and beyond, using a team of drivers that includes family and friends.

Andrew told the Barrhead News: “Prep to Plate has really taken over our lives.

“As the business has been such a success, we’re now looking for new premises to provide our meals seven days a week.

“I first messaged Robert in August to see if he wanted to start something like this and it has taken off from there. GHA loaned us a kitchen and we haven’t looked back since.

“We haven’t really advertised. Most of our custom has come through word of mouth.”

The young entrepreneurs have specialised in providing meals for big occasions such as Christmas and Mother’s Day.

Andrew added: “We are also conscious that people are wanting to eat more healthily during lockdown, which is why the meals have proved popular with the footballers.

Barrhead News: Former Celtic defender Jackie McNamaraFormer Celtic defender Jackie McNamara

“They’re also used to eating in the best restaurants and we try to recreate that experience for them in their own homes.

“Many of the customers have agreed to be photographed with our meals, which has helped promote the business.

“Jason Manford was planning to eat our meals in his apartment while he is here doing the game show, as all the restaurants are closed.”

The firm is now delivering around 500 dishes a week but its biggest success was Burns Night, when 650 were sold.

“Our meals are popular with the sports stars because of their low calorie count,” said Andrew. “The aim was to create dishes that don’t leave people feeling sluggish, tired and generally lazy.

“During lockdown, it has been important to keep minds and bodies healthy by eating right and I think that is our appeal to customers.

“There was clearly a gap in the market where people who normally enjoy good restaurant food but can’t get that during lockdown would pay to have it delivered to their home.”

The two chefs also donated £650 of food to the Catherine McEwan Foundation, which supports people living with Crohn’s disease and colitis.

The charity then auctioned the meals off to raise much-needed funds for research into the two conditions, which affect the gut and digestive system.

Andrew and Robert are happy to be ‘giving something back’ following the success of their new venture, which they admit has taken them by surprise.

“We started from the kitchen in our own homes, providing meals to a few friends,” said Andrew. “Soon, a couple turned into five and then into ten.

“Neither of us can believe how well this has taken off. It’s beyond our wildest dreams.”