A trendy Glasgow venue in the West End has appointed a new head baker.

Mafu Diagne, 27, will head Valaria owned by Nico Simeone, the popular chef behind Six by Nico.

Mafu arrived in Scotland less than five years ago with no prior cooking or baking experience.

The Senegalese baker was inspired to follow in his cousin Modou Diagne's footsteps who promised him a position as a kitchen porter at The Hebridean, another one of Mr Simeone's former establishments.

Modou, who was previously a kitchen porter himself, was handed over the restaurateur's original Glasgow restaurant, 111 by Nico, in 2020.

As Mr Simeone prepared to reopen Valaria, he offered Mafu a senior role in the kitchen as reward for his commitment and culinary prowess.

Glasgow Times:

Speaking about Modou, Mafu, said: “He convinced me to come to Scotland and I’m so glad he did.

"It’s been a journey. He’s taught me so much; from his work ethic and his creativity to specific techniques. He’s always giving me advice and pushing me to improve.”

Mafu has an 18-month-old daughter back in Senegal.

When he arrived in Scotland, he said he didn’t speak a world of English but has slowly learnt the language by conversing with Modou and his colleagues in the kitchen.

He added: “I didn’t know anything about baking when I came to Scotland, but I’ve fallen in love with it.

"The more you learn, the better you become and the more enjoyable it becomes.

"Nico told me to watch Cedric for inspiration and it’s become an obsession. I can spend hours watching him on YouTube, copying everything he does. The end result can be so beautiful, it’s always worth the effort.

"I’ve thrown everything into my career and it’s amazing to see how far I’ve come in such a short space of time. It also means I’ve been able to send more money back to my daughter; she’s really why I’m doing all of this."

Mr Simeone said the new head baker picks things up quickly.

He said: "He’s like a sponge, absorbing everything from everyone around him. Within months, he was better than some people who’d been doing it for years.

“As we expand to new concepts, like Valaria, it’s important we have people who we trust, who are already in the ecosystem, leading the way. That’s key to our success.

“We could see the talent was there from very early on. After a short time, it was a no-brainer that he was ready to be head baker. I’m really proud of how he’s stepped into the role and we’re incredibly excited to see where he can take Valaria.”