A taste of the United Arab Emirates from a garage in Sidford

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 September 2020 | UPDATED: 18:29 07 September 2020

A shawarma sold from a garage in Sidmouth. Picture: Ed McLachlan

A shawarma sold from a garage in Sidmouth. Picture: Ed McLachlan


A Sidmouth chef who has been serving up meals for an Asian royal family is sharing his love of Arabic cuisine from his garage.

The Shawarma Shop run by Ed McLachlan, his wife and his brother Freddie. Picture: Ed McLachlanThe Shawarma Shop run by Ed McLachlan, his wife and his brother Freddie. Picture: Ed McLachlan

Ed McLachlan works as a private chef to the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but was forced to shield at home from coronavirus.

So he and his wife, Nikkie, decided to start up a gourmet takeaway fusion in Sidford.

Operating out of a garage in Drake’s Avenue, The Shawarma Shop has been launched to share some of the food he has learned about during his time in the far east.

He said: “Even now I cannot travel back to the UAE as the quarantine requirements do not work out with my rotational position.

“We continue to sell Shawarmas and many side dishes, we cook rich and varied vegan dishes and a selection of desserts to meet everyone’s needs.

“A shawarma in the Middle East is the equivalent of a burger or fish and chips here, carefully prepared filled freshly baked pitas with an array of fusion sauces and seasonings.”

Ed started as a chef in Sidmouth during his summer holidays at the age of 15, at the Elizabeth Hotel by night and the Donkey Sanctuary kitchen by day, helping with food preparation and cooking.

After going to Sidmouth College and studying cookery, he earned a culinary diploma, winning a chance to study at a university in the United States.

By 22, he had co-launched the Galley Restaurant in Topsham.

He went on to spend three years working on superyachts in the Mediterranean as a personal chef.

Ed and his wife then moved to the United Arab Emirates where he landed a job working for one of the richest families in the world.

He said: “I travelled the world with my boss for four years personally learning from many of the world’s best chefs.

“This is where I developed a passion for Arabic food.”

After starting a family, he and his wife moved back to Sidmouth and he started working rotationally for the UAE royal family.

However, due to Covid-19, commuting has been restricted and as he was recommended to shield by the NHS.

For more information go to The Shawarma Shop Facebook page.

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