Photo: Trench Trench Trench
Big Zuu – rapper, actor, TV chef and radio DJ – went viral with his Bafta acceptance speech earlier this year.
One of his famous statements is: “We did this for working-class people. People that come from nothing, bro.”
The rapper’s Dave show, Big Zuu’s Big Eats, had won two TV Baftas.
For the context: Zuu, whose birth name is Zuhair Hassan, is in attendance with his childhood best friends Tubsey and Hyder. In the show, they cook different dishes each week for a famous guest from their trailer’s kitchen.
The show is now in its third series and has been gaining popularity since its debut in 2020. While most of the show’s appeal comes from the tantalizing plates and comedic jokes between the three – and their guests – there is also a boost to push the boundaries. The trio has a past as a refugee, a topic raised by Zuu in his speech at the Baftas.
“Our main thing when picking a guest is… about representation and having a fair spread of different people, different voices that we kind of give life to because the food we cook is based on the guests,” Big Zuu elaborates.
“So, when we cook food for people from different backgrounds, we tap into different cultures and cuisines.”
In an interview with BBC, Refugee Council’s CEO, Enver Solomon, says: “Refugees, like the family of Big Zuu, are ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances who simply want the chance to live in peace, away from the war, conflict and violence that shattered their lives.
“Refugees have so much to contribute to their new communities, across many spheres of society, and it is vitally important they have a voice.”
Big Zuu’s Big Eats has had several guests of prominent personalities such as Jimmy Carr, Mo Gilligan, Judi Love, and Harry Redknapp. In addition, Mel B and Johnny Vegas appear in series three.
Zuu also ensures that the food is accessible and affordable, precisely due to the current cost of living.
“How many people actually say, ‘You know what, I’m gonna go cook what I just was on Channel 4 or on Saturday Kitchen?” the chef asks.
“No disrespect to my peers [but] sometimes the recipes and ingredients… are not accessible at home. For our show, it’s very important [that you can] make it at home [and can] afford to make it. Even when we do specialist dishes, we like to break the mould and just say: ‘If you ain’t got this [ingredient], use something else.’”