Some of the UK’s top chefs donated their time to cook up a meal for more than 100 diners at FoodCycle’s annual fundraising gala, which raised more than £50,000. Several of our traders provided produce for the occasion
The gala evening was an opportunity to bring supporters and corporate partners together to share a meal and raise vital funds to help national food charity FoodCycle, which is based in the Food Exchange
at the Market, to open Projects in more disadvantaged communities.
The select diners were a mix of FoodCycle friends and supporters - from volunteers to members of the FoodCycle team from around the country to corporate partners, patrons and many companies and individuals that have supported the charity in the past year.
In line with the charity’s efforts to reduce food waste, Covent Garden Market Authority and Market tenants – The Menu Partners; D.D.P Ltd, Harwoods of London, S Thorogood & Sons; London Dairies and The London Herb Company – donated fruit and vegetables. San Pietro a Pettine donated truffles for the pasta course and Crumbs Brewing supplied the beer selection.
The event was also supported by FoodCycle partner Just Eat and The Fishmongers’ Company, who kindly gifted the use of their livery hall, their staff to help with the running of the event and the fish course.
Former royal Sous-Chef, Lorenzo Salami created the Amuse Bouche; Luke Tipping, Chef Director at Michelin-starred Simpsons in Birmingham was in charge of the Entrée; FoodCycle Patron and former Head Chef at The Italian Embassy, Danilo Cortellini, served up a freshly made pasta course; Fishmongers’ Head Chef Stefan Pini was in charge of the fish course; and Ben Tish created a dessert incorporating surplus coffee grounds.
The evening was expertly hosted by food and drinks broadcaster, Nigel Barden with appearances from FoodCycle CEO, Mary McGrath MBE and FoodCycle volunteers, Robyn and Mark who spoke about the importance of FoodCycle community meals and what it means to volunteer.
Victoria Meier, Head of Fundraising at FoodCycle, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to see so many of our supporters coming together to share a delicious meal and support us in our aim to open FoodCycle meals in more communities across the country. We are incredibly grateful to the talented chefs and the various companies and corporate partners who donated either time, food, money or prizes to help make the event such a success. A huge thank you to each and every person involved.”
What is FoodCycle?
FoodCycle opened its doors in 2009 with one London Project and since then has opened 71 Projects across England and Wales. Its numbers are rising all the time, particularly since the cost-of-living crisis kicked in – for example in April 2023, the charity served a total of 7,034 meals to guests and volunteers compared to 4,416 guests and volunteers last year (a 59% increase). In the first half of this year, FoodCycle had served an amazing 46,568 community meals. The aim is to reach 100 Projects by 2025, but ultimately the vision is to make food poverty, loneliness and food waste a thing of the past for every community.
FoodCycle connects communities by bringing people together to share food and conversation. Week in, week out, thousands of volunteers across the country transform surplus food into healthy, delicious meals for anyone who needs them, no questions asked. Food poverty and loneliness are growing issues. By offering a safe, welcoming space to enjoy a free meal and company, FoodCycle brings people from all backgrounds and walks of life together, improving mental wellbeing and strengthening community spirit.
FoodCycle also runs a free Check-in and Chat telephone service, where volunteers make weekly calls to anyone in need of a natter.
How can you help?
There are plenty of ways to support FoodCycle – from becoming a corporate partner to helping with surplus food supply to individual and group fundraising to encouraging employees to volunteer at their local Project. All the information on how to support can be found on the FoodCycle website.
Website: foodcycle.org.uk Instagram: @foodcyclehq Facebook: @foodcycle Twitter: @foodcycle