Be like Raymond Blanc and help us to raise funds this Christmas

Christmas can be a particularly tough time of year for those who work in hospitality. With long hours and demanding work schedules, those who turn to us for support have little time to focus on themselves as they do all they can to give others their perfect Christmas. And that’s why, two weeks ago, celebrated Chef and Hospitality Action Patron Raymond Blanc OBE kick-started our festive celebrations at a rather special fundraising dinner which raised an epic £29,000!

Agnar Sverrisson and Monsieur Blanc

Monsieur Blanc was joined behind the stoves by some of his protégés and peers including Benoit Blin and Gary Jones of the two Michelin-starred Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Robin Gill of the award winning The Dairy and Aggi Sverrisson from the Michelin-starred Texture. Lending support throughout the evening was Chino Latino’s Executive Group Chef Werner Seebach who opened his restaurant doors at the Park Plaza London Riverbank and enabled us to host our final fundraising dinner of 2018 at this fantastic location.

The mouth-watering main course

We are extremely thankful to all of our sponsors including Aubrey Allen, Classic Fine Foods, Devon Eel Company, Jellybean Creative Solutions, Mash, Oranka, Reynolds, Swaledale, Taittinger, Wellocks and Wenlock Spring as well as prize donors, including Condé Nast Johansens who contributed a fantastic £500 worth of gift vouchers, to help ensure the evening’s success.

It’s not too late to raise money on our behalf this December. For a quick way to help us #spreadsomewarmth simply text WARM18 £10 to 70070 to donate £10. Or why not sign up to our “Hats off for HA” campaign where we’re asking restaurants and hotels to donate their cloakroom fees during the month of December. To find out more and get your fundraising pack email Kirsty at klyons@hospitalityaction.org.uk or give us a ring on: 020 3004 5505.

Social Sunday 18 – A Glorious Way to Support HA

Yesterday I was lucky enough to join our photographer, the talented Martin Edwards, and The Social Company’s Social Media & Marketing Executive Stephanie Mercer, as we visited each of Jason Atherton’s London restaurants that were taking part in Social Sunday 2018. This is the first time the initiative has gone beyond The Social Company with restaurants nationwide taking part to raise funds on our behalf. As Jason says, the day belongs to the industry and with chefs from Sat Bains and Niall Keating and Gary Usher hosting events in our honour Social Sunday has spread much further than we could have hoped. Our thanks to  OXBO Bankside for kicking off proceedings last Friday where chef Paul Bates was joined by England rugby legend Simon Shaw to cook up a three course storm.

My Social Sunday started bright and early at Sosharu in Farringdon, just a minute away from the Hospitality Action office. Chefs Alex Craciun, Edoardo Pellicano, Kazutoshi Endo, Oliver Marlow, Patrick Powell, Chase Chase Lovecky and Hannah Catley were in the middle of preparing their dazzling six course menu, including grilled lamb rump, courgettes and black garlic and razor clams, barbequed peas, hazelnut and mint. Spirits were high as the chefs tucked into a bacon buttie breakfast ahead of their busy service.

After a 20 minute cab ride our next stop was Social Wine & Tapas in Marylebone where Head Chef Marcus Rohlen and Executive Head Sommelier at Pollen Street Social Laure Patry were joined by guest chefs from Ceviche. Service was in full swing when we arrived with diner’s tucking in the mouthwatering fish, meats and perfectly matched wines, all in aid of HA!

It wasn’t long before we made our move to Social Eating House where Paul Ainsworth and Paul Hood were in fine form. The kitchen was buzzing with lucky guests seated at the chef’s table enjoying the view (and the heat!) generated from the hard working brigade. Not for the faint-hearted dishes on offer included pig’s head fritter and octopus. Needless to say both were delicious!

A ten minute walk away we joined the gang at Little Social, headed up by the talented Clare Smyth and Cary Doherty. Service was coming to a close when we arrived with happy guests tucking into the most amazing Eton Mess I’ve ever seen. After a few photos we left the chefs to celebrate their achievements.

With the fun drawing to a close our last stop was Pollen Street Social, just across the road from Little Social. HA Champion Jason Atherton was joined by Tom Aikens and Tom Sellers to cater for the sold out restaurant. The kitchen ran like clockwork and everyone was delighted when the chefs took the time to pop out and greet everyone making the occasion even more memorable.

 

Before I knew it, it was time to say goodbye to Martin who had one last Social Sunday engagement…a fabulous hog roast at The Beehive in White Waltham hosted by Dominic Chapman. A spot of cricket, live music and gorgeous food in the glorious sunshine. A fantastic end to the day!

Whilst Sunday 1st July may be over that doesn’t mean it’s too late to take part in Social Sunday 2018. Stem by Neo in Mayfair are hosting a Summer Party at the end of the month in our honour whilst The Fat Duck Group are amongst those who have added a discretionary £1 donation to diner’s bills all this week. If you’d like to take part too please give me a ring on: 020 3004 5504. And of course, our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has already participated in some way, shape or form. Put simply, without you we wouldn’t be able to help so many people in need.

A Whole Lot of Fun – Flagship Quiz Breaks Records!

A record-breaking £85,000 was raised on Wednesday evening at our annual Big Fat Quiz! Taking place at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London the event was an enormous success and raised the most since the quiz began back in 2007!

The fundraising got off to a fantastic start when Daniel Pedreschi, Regional General Manager UK at PPHE Hotel Group presented us with a cheque for £19,533 – raised through the popular StreetSmart Campaign.

The quiz, hosted by legendary DJ Pat Sharp saw joint team CESA, Jellybean Creative Solutions, Propercorn and Wenlock Spring crowned champions out of the 55 competitive teams who took part. It was a closely fought battle with joint team Delifrance, Kellogg’s and Tyrells in second place and The Caterer coming third.

Over 500 guests enjoyed a three course meal of ham hock, chicken and leek terrine, slow-cooked shepherd’s pie and apricot and vanilla sponge mousse with coconut ganache and almond crumble. Guests were also able to bid on star auction lots, hosted by celebrated chef and HA Patron Brian Turner CBE, including an overnight stay for two guests in a Suite at The Dorchester and two tickets to see the England v India test match at Lord’s this summer.

It goes without saying that we’re extremely grateful to all of our sponsors, without whom the evening simply wouldn’t have been possible. Sincerest thanks to Bidfood, the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, Syft, Fusion FSM and all those you see listed above.

It was a fantastic evening! If you’d like to host your own (slightly smaller!) quiz to raise funds for Hospitality Action, or you have a brand new fundraising idea you’re keen to get off the ground please give me a ring on 020 3004 5504 to talk things through.

Rugby Legends and Super Chefs Raise £40,000 for HA!

On Monday evening we hosted our inaugural Rugby Legends Dinner at Deer Park Country House Hotel. It was a tremendous occasion which raised a whopping £40,000!

Our 200 guests enjoyed delicious food prepared by a brigade of some of the UK’s pre-eminent chefs, all from or with links to the west country; Dominic Chapman of The Beehive, White Waltham, Jude Kereama of Kota, Nathan Outlaw of Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen, Josh Eggleton of The Pony & Trap, Guy Owen of The Idle Rocks, Paul Ainsworth of Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 and Michael Wignall formerly of Gidleigh Park. Thanks also goes to Hadleigh Barrett, Executive Chef at Deer Park for opening his kitchen to us!

Stuffed courgette flower with burrata, artichokes, beetroot & sultanas, pine nut vinaigrette by Dominic Chapman, The Beehive

Our lucky guests also enjoyed the company of a host of rugby union superstars who entertained us all with tales from on and off the pitch. We are extremely grateful to them all for giving up their time free of charge; David Flatman, Phil Vickery MBE DL, Jeremy Guscott, Alex Brown, Phil Dollman, David Flatman, Andy Hazell, Kai Horstmann, Lee Mears, Matt Powell, Nigel Redman Andy Reed, Gareth Steenson, and Nolli Waterman alongside football legend Paul Tisdale.

L-R: Nathan Outlaw, Phil Vickery MBE DL, Guy Owen, Josh Eggleton and David Flatman

We are of course also indebted to our headline sponsor Sharp’s Brewery for their tremendous support, without them the event would not have been possible. Special mention also goes to Chase Distillery, Enotria&Coe, Exposure Photo Agency, Oliver Harvey, The Pig, Salt Media, Total Produce, Udale Speciality Foods and Wing of St Mawes for being so generous.

Events like these are only made possible thanks to the dedicated supporters who give up their time to help us on a voluntary basis, people like Andrew Foulkes MI who masterminded the event and Mark Godfrey FIH MI who gave us free rein of Deer Park Hotel. Needless to say we are always in need of ambassadors just like Andrew and Mark, from right across the UK, to lend their support. If you’d like to get involved in the charity, in any way, shape or form, please give me a ring on 020 3004 5504. It would be great to hear from you.

London to Paris in memory of Paul

When Denise contacted the Hospitality Action fundraising team to let us know she was cycling London to Paris on our behalf we felt we had to share her story. In just under six months Denise will undertake this gruelling challenge and will need to summon all her strength and determination to ensure she crosses the finish line over 300 miles away.

Denise says: “My husband Paul became a chef at 15 and felt like he had found his calling. He became one of the youngest Master Chefs at 23 and worked in some of Scotland’s best hotels. He was a fun and fantastic mentor, a calm and fair boss and was well liked and respected by all who met him. Despite regularly working 60-90 hours a week Paul loved his industry and talked food 24/7. Tragically the pressures of the job got too much and Paul passed away last September.

When eating out or perhaps staying in a lovely hotel we do not give much thought to those behind the scenes who provide us with comfort and luxury, however they often work long hours and in stressful conditions foregoing on the normal family life and interests the rest of us take for granted. In memory of Paul, and to give myself a focus, I am taking part in this epic challenge and hope to raise both funds and awareness for Hospitality Action.”

Needless to say we are so very grateful to Denise for committing to this all encompassing challenge. She faces countless hours of training and an unforgiving fitness regime in order to take part. The cycle will be especially emotional for Denise as it will also mark the one year anniversary of Paul’s passing but we know she can do it and will be there every step of the way to support her. If you’d also like to show Denise your support please take a moment to visit her Just Giving page to donate what you can: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/denise-purves

Alternatively if you’d like to take part in your own challenge event, for any reason, please give me a ring on: 020 3004 5504 to talk over the many options available.

The heartfelt reasons behind our supporters’ generosity

 

There are many reasons why someone might support Hospitality Action. Some individuals may want to get fit and will cycle many miles in our honour to do so whilst others may want to boost staff morale and indulge in a delicious cake sale.

Yet the overwhelming majority of our supporters raise funds for more heartfelt reasons. They may know someone we assisted or they may have been affected by one of the many challenges we guide people through every day.

Zan Kaufman, founder of London burger chain Bleecker, is fundraising for us for this very reason, in memory of her brother Mark who passed away last year. Zan says: “My brother Mark worked his entire life in hospitality. From being a room service runner to managing restaurants, it was what he liked to do and where he fitted in. He spent a summer at Bleecker too. Mark was charming and funny and had a talent for commanding the attention of a room. He loved his maître d’ role, where he was especially popular with the older ladies of Miami Beach.

Mark suffered from mental illness and addiction. Last April, he overdosed and passed away at 35 years of age. Hospitality accepted Mark when other fields wouldn’t. It allowed him to stay himself whist still struggling with this disease. For this I am grateful. Mark’s birthday is March 1st. On this day, Bleecker will donate all of its profits to Hospitality Action to help support and build awareness around mental health and addiction.”

We are indebted to Zan and everyone at Bleecker for supporting us in this way. March 1st won’t be an easy day for Zan and her team but this generous method of fundraising will ensure we can support many more just like Mark. If you’re in London on March 1st and close to Victoria, Spitalfields or Bloomberg please consider treating yourself to a meal at Bleecker in Mark’s honour.

Alternatively if you’d like to raise funds for a reason close to your own heart please give me a ring on: 020 3004 5504 or phone Liam at Bleecker to learn how to set up a similar scheme in your own place of work: 07751217612

Egg-chasers and extraordinary food – how southwest hoteliers are helping HA

In just over two months Hospitality Action will host its first Rugby Legends Dinner sponsored by Sharp’s Brewery at the beautiful Deer Park Country House Hotel in Devon. Last week I was fortunate enough to visit Deer Park for a final planning meeting. There was so much passion to support HA in the meeting, that I thought I’d convey some of it in this post.

Since June 2009 our South West fundraising board have worked tirelessly to raise funds on our behalf. From our annual Polo Day to our growing Cotswold Cycle Challenge our board members have always gone to great lengths to show their support. Richard Ball of Calcot Hotels has cycled thousands of miles and Philip Newman Hall, formally of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, took to the sky only to jump 10,000 feet back down again, all in the name of charity.

The Rugby Legends Dinner is the brainchild of Andrew Foulkes, 2017 Cateys Manager of the Year, and Tom Ross, Operations Director, at The Pig. Both avid rugby fans and prominent South West hoteliers they have called in every favour to ensure the event is a whopping success. On the night over 200 lucky guests will enjoy a fabulous drinks reception and four course meal prepared by seven award-wining chefs including two Michelin star holder Nathan Outlaw (Restaurant Nathan Outlaw) and one Michelin star holders Paul Ainsworth (Paul Ainsworth at Number 6) and Josh Eggleton (The Pony & Trap).  Each diner will also be entertained by our guest speaker, former England player and renowned TV pundit, David “Flats” Flatman alongside a host of rugby stars including Phil Vickery MBE DL and Jeremy Guscott.

The evening will also see our legends answering questions from the crowd. The Six Nations will have just finished at the time of the event making this the perfect chance to speak to our legends about the championship. Although this is our first Rugby Legends Dinner there is already talk of a second, perhaps at a rugby stadium, in 2020!

Last year alone we spent £121,023 supporting hospitality employees in crisis in the South West, the most we spent in any region across the UK. It is only thanks to the enthusiasm, dedication and passion of Andrew Foulkes, Stuart Mathieson, Mark Godfrey, Tom Ross and Philip Newman Hall that the event is taking place and for this we are truly grateful.

Tickets to this unmissable evening are limited and I would advise you booking as soon as possible in order to secure your place! If you’d like to get further involved in our work, just like our South West Board, please don’t hesitate to give me a ring: 020 3004 5504