What a fantastic evening we all enjoyed last night! This was an inspired event which was initiated by Clerkenwellboy (award winning instagrammer) and Serena Guen of Suitcase Magazine in partnership with Next Generation London (this is UNICEF’s young professional fundraising group). The aim of the evening was to provide humanitarian aid to children affected by the crisis of Syria. Gemma Bell and her company worked with leading chefs, restauranteurs, bars and hotels across London to bring together a really special evening.
This is my sort of gathering held at 180 The Strand with spectacular views over London the space had been transformed into a cosy, eclectic yet elegant banqueting venue. There was a buzz in the air with such a gathering of chefs and culinary expertise you felt inspired just being there. As we were all seated we introduced ourselves to neighbouring diners to enjoy the surprises that awaited. There was an international crowd and our common ground was the food and a very good cause. A raffle and auction raised a significant amount of money to launch this brilliant incentive.
I think we were particularly lucky as entirely by chance we all met at the venue somewhat promptly and struggling to find the entrance we came across what transpired to be the back entrance . We made our way upstairs and found ourselves in the kitchen. My favourite spot at the hub of all the activity and everyone was so engrossed in preparation and hard work that we walked through unnoticed but thrilled to have been permitted into the heart of the evening.
The hosts of the evening were The Store Kitchen and the canapés they served were delicious. The chefs for our banquet were Fergus Henderson, Nuno Mendes,Jose Pizarro,Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi and Angela Hartnett. Each and every course was inspired and delicious and all served with an abundance of wine. The auction was conducted by Tom Best an energetic and relentless auctioneer whose clutches were difficult to escape but all for a very worthy cause.
Sophie, Kate and I had a terrific evening. The campaign is continuing for the month of November with restaurants all over London offering a Syrian inspired dish on the menu with a donation for the children of this cause. There is a cookbook coming out on the first of December available to pre-order on Amazon so an ideal Christmas gift whilst making a donation and you can also host your own Cook for Syria evening and do some fundraising at home. Please support this great cause as every little donation helps and these children can benefit on the ground with these funds. Stay tuned in and follow @Cookforsyria on Twitter and Instagram.