A special lunch was served for industry representatives at an event in London yesterday (30 January).
Some £20,000 was raised for the organisation Only A Pavement Away (OAPA), which acts as a conduit for vulnerable people and hospitality employers.
OAPA founder Greg Mangham said on the day that the ‘Cook & Dine’ event was testament to the inclusive spirit of the hospitality sector.
He said: “This event is all about raising awareness and money for Only A Pavement Away so that we can help more people to get back on their feet through a career in our thriving industry.
“The idea behind today was to showcase the fact that no matter your background, you can be part of a great team. And no matter who you are, in this industry we work together, we cook together and we dine together.”
The charity has already placed 65 people in roles in pubs and restaurants, and has partnered with around 44 employers.
Fundraising participants included Greene King CEO Nick MacKenzie, Carluccio’s CEO Mark Jones and UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls.
Michelin-starred celebrity pub chef Tom Kerridge’s team ran the kitchen of volunteers, with his development chef at the Hand & Flowers, Chris Mackett, in charge.
Volunteers included individuals who had been helped into work in the hospitality industry by OAPA.
Kerridge said: “My team and I are absolutely delighted to be involved with Only A Pavement Away, and this unique event. It’s a great charity that’s giving vulnerable people an opportunity to find stability and build a career in an industry that I love, and am passionate about.
“Hospitality has given me so much and I’m really happy to be able to help this brilliant initiative.”
Almost 300 people attended the event at Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden, central London.