Could 2019 be the year you host an event to support your fellow hospitality people?

An amazing thing happened last Tuesday. Jose Pizarro joined forces with Chris and Jeff Galvin to cook up a storm at a gala fundraising dinner in aid of Hospitality Action at Jose’s eponymous restaurant at the top of Bermonsdey Street.

The result? A wonderfully enjoyable gourmet evening – and £17,000 in the HA kitty to spend on helping hospitality people in difficulty.

A full house of Galvin and Pizarro fans gathered to enjoy a spectacular feast, celebrating the very best of Spanish/French cuisine:

  • Croquettas squid ink with Alioli Jamón Ibérico 100%, 5J, Acorn fed Brochette of Autumn Vegetables
  • Escabeche of Yellow fin Tuna, smoked Aubergine caviar
  • Presa Ibérica 5J , Mushroom and Romesco sauce
  • Saint-Marcellin, Torta del casar
  • Apple tarte Tatin & Normandy crème fraîche.

As well as benefiting from ticket sales, we profited from a live auction, silent auction and £20 prize draw.

At HA, we run a full schedule of fundraising events aimed at generating revenues that we can then disburse as grants. And we’re immensely grateful to everyone who supports these events, which range from cycle challenges to pub quizzes, and from polo days to blue riband chefs’ dinners (check out our Raymond Blanc Dinner in London, next month).

However, we’re never happier than when kind people like Jose, Chris and Jeff reach out and tell us they’re freestyling an event themselves, on our behalf.

Could you have an HA event in you? Would you like to engage with your client base and show them you’re proud to support your own industry charity?

We’d love to hear from you.

Reflections on joining HA, and why our work is more important than ever.

Hi, I’m Jeremy, and it’s my third week as the newly-appointed Marketing Director at Hospitality Action.

During my career I’ve been lucky enough to work close to the hospitality industry for The Caterer magazine, and in digital fundraising for the international charities WaterAid and Christian Aid. I’m looking forward to bringing my experience to HA as we embark on the next exciting phase in our evolution.

The highlight of my first week was getting to experience the generosity of our supporters at first hand. I was lucky enough to join chefs Jose Pizarro along with Chris and Jeff Galvin as they prepared signature dishes for an audience of fans, foodies and suppliers – all for the benefit of HA. I was taken with how committed they were both to their own teams but also the wellbeing of the wider industry. As the auction lots rolled in, I felt a real sense of pride for our industry and those who work to support it.

As a marketing chap, I’ll be thinking about how we describe ourselves, our beneficiaries, supporters and what we do. World Mental Health Day last week was a great thought starter.

There has been a step change in the way we talk about mental health, and it’s a fantastic thing to see. From Chef Andrew Frost who took to Instagram to share the story of how HA’s action line had helped him, to high profile leaders like Sat Bains symbolically removing themselves from social media to raise awareness of the pressures of our always-on lifestyle. Our friends (and my former colleagues) at The Caterer even dedicated a whole issue of the magazine to the campaign. All of these things point to a de-stigmatisation of mental health which is something HA and other charities have been working towards for years and a fact we should celebrate.

I can’t wait to start work on developing the way we communicate how we help people and the difference it makes to their lives. Ours is a fraternal industry and the people who HA help aren’t miles away – they’re our colleagues, friends and employees – and who knows – maybe one day, any one of us could need a bit of help. HA, and the wider industry helps out our friends in a time of need to help them get back on their feet. I’m keen to evolve how we tell these stories and to develop new ways that you can support us to do more of this vitally important work.

Watch this space! I’m keen to hear any comments, stories or thoughts, drop them in the comments section below or email me at jgibson at hospitalityaction.org.uk

Mental Health in Hospitality – #timetotalk by Sat Bains

Sat Bains takes a break from social media to promote wellbeing on World Mental Health Day. He picks up the story…

“On 10 October, every year, the World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day. First launched by the World Federation for Mental Health in 1992, it has run almost annually since 1996 on the same day, each year dedicated to a different theme.

While previous years have focused on “mental health and older adults”, “living with schizophrenia” and “mental health in the workplace”, this year it turns its attention to “young people and mental health in a changing world”.

In the 30 or so years that I have been a chef, the world has changed beyond belief. Industry icons are only a Twitter handle away, and in culinary terms, at least, the world has most definitely shrunk. And yet, despite a seemingly smaller world and the fact that World Mental Health Day was launched almost three decades ago, mental health still faces a relentless taboo, particularly in hospitality.

The hospitality industry has given me an incredible career – I’ve achieved things I never thought possible – but there is no getting away from the fact that it has also been a demanding career and a physical one at that.

Chefs are, for the most part, fragile souls and we live wholly in the knowledge that we are only as good as our last meal. My wife Amanda and I put ourselves under immense pressure to perform at the highest possible level, and we expect no less from our teams. We run disciplined, systemised environments with high standards, and we start our day assuming that we are all on the same page – one team, one dream.

The rise of social media has brought amazing opportunities for chefs like me, it’s enabled many of us to promote our businesses, sell tables, crowdfund and get our voice heard without being beholden to one particular newspaper or another.

It has undoubtedly helped many of us build confidence and a support network among chefs and customers alike, and a steady stream of compliments can boost your ego no end. But there’s also a dark side of social media that many people, and many chefs, struggle to handle which is why I felt that launching a blackout was so important on this critical day. And so today, along with many of my colleagues and industry friends, I am quitting my personal social media channels for one week to shine a spotlight on mental health and to promote wellbeing.

Like me, many of my colleagues have addictive personalities which plays right into the hands of social media. We live in an era where many of us are slaves to our phones and we have become addicted to notifications – notifications that open us up not only to adulation, but to trolls and critics too. This dependency is not good and for me and many others I believe taking a break from social media and all it encompasses to have time to reflect on my own wellbeing and the chefs for whom I am responsible for can only be a positive thing.

As a business, wellbeing is key for us. A shorter working week, good, balanced and nutritious staff meals and our healthcare package goes some way towards ensuring this, but we also encourage fitness too – we think it’s fundamental to a positive mental attitude.

Beyond our four walls, we are fortunate to have Hospitality Action to support people in our industry through the hardest of times. Together with HA, we can break the stigmas that stop so many people asking for help and create an environment where people feel they have both the support of their line manager or a friendly ear at the end of HA’s action line.”

If you need support please call the Hospitality Action help line: 0808 802 0282. It’s free, confidential and open 24/7.