Big Zuu’s tips for saving money on food in the cost-of-living crisis

The rapper and chef tells Prudence Wade his money-saving tips when cooking.

Big Zuu knows firsthand the power of community spaces.

The rapper, chef and BAFTA winner grew up in west London, and says he was “always in community centres and youth clubs”.

“Going to places in Ladbroke Grove, Harrow Road, Maida Vale, Kilburn – always going to community centres, whether we were doing music, cooking food, [or] learning about something important. It was a very big part of my youth.”

It’s in community spaces that the 27-year-old, whose real name is Zuhair Hassan, discovered his two passions: music and food.

“Going to the studio in my local youth club is where I first started recording [music],” he explains. “They also had kitchens where we could learn to cook.”

“One of my youth clubs that I went to, the youth worker didn’t let us swear or talk about anything that was negative. He made us focus on trying to say positive things and use better vocabulary in our music.

“It influenced me to be more creative with the words I use. I do have songs where I swear, of course, but I’m definitely less likely to use a swear word in my music, because of that stuff when I was growing up.”

Now he’s grown up and moved away from west London (not far though – only to Golders Green), Zuu’s relationship with his community has shifted.

“I guess I’m less local than I was,” he reflects. “But I’m more able to have a real positive impact – rather than in the area, having a local impact – I have more of a national presence with the things I want to change. It’s different, but it’s good.”

Now, Zuu is teaming up with Co-op (coop.co.uk) to raise awareness around Your Local Pantry (yourlocalpantry.co.uk) – community hubs around the UK where people can pay membership fees to buy fresh food at a cheaper…

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