Kai We Care recipe for success

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th April 2011
 

All photography kindly provided by richardbuddphotograhy

 Chefs, you're reading this through a medium, which by now is all too familiar: Social Media.

Yes, that great big term that most people are coming to grips with. Young or old, it doesn't matter. And as a chef I've been privileged to be part of a great team who orchestrated an event called KaiWeCare.

If this doesn't inspire you to get on to Twitter and engage with fellow professionals, then you need to rethink your time management. Seriously.

And it is there as a tool to complement your other social media activities, which includes being on The Staff Canteen, or Facebook, for that matter.

I will use the Twitter terms on here as that is the essence of where this has come from and where it grew from a simple comment to a finished product in 5 crazy weeks!

Kai We Care was envisaged by Dave Ahern  and Mat Follas .

Read about how it started on here:

W: kaiwecare                           

T: @KaiWeCare

F:  KaiWeCare         

The Event: Monday 4th April 2011 at One Moorgate Place, City of London EC2R 6EA

I was away on the Isle of Skye with my brother @SkyeBakingCo (who provided the bread, oatcakes and shortbread for the event) and @CorkGourmetGuy "volunteered" my services as a chef. Having had a break from a few kitchens and some major changes in lifestyle, I was only too happy to donate my time and efforts for what I thought would be a few hours a week, in between a few giggles and earning some dosh. It took up most of my time and the learning experience was incredible. @Chef1 was correct when he badgered me into signing up for Twitter. It does change your life, in a very positive way. And it was to him that I turned and asked for favours of contacts and whether he'd be interested in covering the event. There are a huge number of chefs who are on Twitter. Most of them use their own names, whilst others use an alias. I will stick with their usernames and you can have fun exploring all their missives to and from each other. Some are serious, others are filled with banter that chefs are renowned for. Be prepared for a few giggles midway through service. So you may ask, how do you organise chefs from all over the country and produce to them as well? A logistical nightmare it would have been in the olden days - read as pre-internet and mobile communications. Let's put this in perspective: @AnnyBaxter was the lady in charge of the admin and most of the emailing, coordination of the tickets and too much other stuff that cannot fit in here. @CityJohn used his vast connections and ability to network, aside from a huge number of other details @matkiwi was the man whom @CorkGourmetGuy chatted with and set up the whole event @granthawthorne is me. And by now you should have an idea of what I do @anglikebang brought her charms to the party in the form of PR and burlesque dancers Email account was set up; meetings in London were held (to view potential premises, logistics etc); Website was set up and of course a barrage of tweeting from @KaiWeCare to keep everyone informed (the erudite @DouglasBlyde commandeered the account for live tweeting on the night, as oddly enough we were all too busy to do so). To say the whole thing snowballed would be an understatement of the century. One of the venues we looked at, the chef mentioned that it takes him at least 6months to a year's planning to do his charity events. What on earth were we doing trying to make it come together in 5 weeks flat? Madness! And yet it was done. And successfully at that (to date there is over £60k that has been raised through the auction and ticket sales. EBay auctions will follow too and hopefully it will be closer to the £70k mark). Hundreds of emails were sent over the 5 weeks, with a regular update of what's going on to the various chefs involved. The menu evolved from a simple "supper club" to that of a 9 course banquet, lovingly cooked and prepared for by a massive brigade of chefs (I think the guests were surprised to see a few dozen on stage for the Santé des Chefs). The lead chefs designed their own course and supplied the recipes for inclusion in a printed booklet. Most of which were dished out on the night. All I can say is Thank God for email and broadband! The venue itself had 3 kitchens (plus side areas for mis en place and plating), split over 3 floors. If ever any of you have done a function in someone's home (where they have some form of kit), then you'll know what it is like to go into an unfamiliar kitchen - turning the gas oven on proved to be tricky - and getting your prepared product on time and in mint condition. Scale that up a few notches and the event might read as such: 13 prep kitchens spread the length and breadth of mainland UK 85+ sponsors of products or prizes including those from @greatglengame, @GACartwright, @brockhallfarm, @UkThermomix, @CuisinartGirl, @sarahabbottMW. 50+ chefs who are travelling from far and wide to a central point in London, that is best served by the Underground 40+ volunteer waiting staff I assume you're getting the picture so far. Add to this a few companies who pulled out of the logistics, supply of food and delayed by flights and you pretty much have covered a fair bit of the stress level on the day. The odd bit of chefs arriving before their mis en place was delivered was an added highlight. I'd have pulled my hair out, but being of the "receding hair" brigade, it would have been nigh on impossible to achieve. Thankfully the chefs came to the aid, once again. They donated their time, produce and understanding - whilst still running their various kitchens and businesses. Service was to be on a tight schedule (see below for a breakdown of the course; chef; timings and their Twitter ID's) and with the event commencing at 6pm sharp, there was little leeway for errors. A slight delay at the beginning of service resulted in the minor snowball of the Adam Gray- Dom Chapman course being backed up under the hot lights. @ChrisTanner99 was masterful on the "special dietary requirements", along with his brother. The rest of the evening was a blur. A cacophony of chefs, coming to the main kitchen on Level 4 and having to send it all from there. A few comments came in "You have too many chefs". My simple answer is such: We're ALWAYS short-staffed in the kitchens. It is not my menu, nor my dish. 15+ chefs per kitchen will result in 200pax being promptly plated for and served. The lead chefs do their course and the others can stand and observe their wizardry. And then they can relax and have a few bevies in the bar afterwards. Yes, the kitchens were crowded at times and anyone not from the industry would have thought it was mayhem. On a personal level, yes it was crowded. But humbling to see the chefs without any egos and simply mucking in to get the job done, and on time. We managed to ring in the time and plated all within the allocated schedule. To observe 50+ chefs in synergy is something you would rarely behold. With the majority of them either at Head or Exec level - most with Rosettes, 7 with Michelin stars - it was pure theatre. The camaraderie and banter that flowed all day and way into the small hours was an experience I will treasure for the rest of my life. It is why I am a chef and proudly one at that. It is an event like that, which brings home the reality of how chefs just crack on and do it for a worthy cause.   There are loads of Blog posts; loads of pictures on various forums and loads more news of the event to be published. Keep an eye out for it. For me, it is one of the best days in my professional career and being able to chat with the various chefs over the various courses. It was an honour to lead them and to see the fruits of their labours being so warmly appreciated. So much so that nearly 50 chefs, donned in jackets donated by Oliver Harvey, were called to the stage. They received three toasts and a standing ovation from the guests. I doff my hat to each and every one of the chefs who joined in to raise monies for Kai we Care and hope that Mat Follas and Dave Ahern nurture their oak tree for many years, in another guise, to come. Back to the Twitter element, you might ask? Ok. A brief idea of which some of the volunteers on the day were: (I'd recommend that you sign up with Twitter and check out the usernames, in depth). And I doff my hat to the front of house team, ably led by @robXbrry @gcprinci and assisted by @mikewest1999, @Martin_Renshaw, @johannawimmer, @TheEngineerPub, @MelissaCole, @mcmoop, @aliceproctor. @angus_macnab, @EmmaLDickinson and a huge host of others. The bearded @timhayward ran with the auction, whilst the jacketed @mydaddycooks hosted the Master of Ceremony duties. Some of the food bloggers who gave a hand during the evening included @chrispople, @HRWright and @meemalee, @KaveyF, @alanokat, @MillyMollyManda, @JanieStamford, @caterersearch, @RichardBudd were on hand to record the event for posterity. Christchurch lad and Kiwi Master of Wine @petermccombie was on hand and spoke eloquently to the guests. Huge thanks go out to all of the people involved in making this "pop-up" restaurant the resounding success it was. I trust you will see the benefit of getting involved as a chef on Twitter and other social media platforms. ORDER OF SERVICE, MENU AND TWITTER ID's  6:00pm Guest arrivals Canapes: Steve Groves; Lisa Faulkner; Dhruv Baker; Lee Behn Pork crackling toffee apple, Cured salmon and cucumber "fruit pastille", port and Spenwood pencil @SteveGrovesChef, @auntiegigi72, @DhruvBaker1 6:30pm Champagne and canapé reception   6:55 - 7:00pm Call to be seated - Haka - Maori group TBC (Pre- starter at the table, already plated) Pre starter/ amuse bouche: Pre starter: "˜Beetroot' Simon Hulstone Tasting of beetroot textures with elderflower curd. @hulstone, @jknightpacheco 7:20pm Bread served Selection of artisanal breads (potato, seeded, spelt) from the Isle of Skye Baking Company with British butter from @SkyeBakingCo 7:25pm Introduction by Deputy NZ High Commissioner 7:30pm            Starter: "˜Pork and truffle' Dominic Chapman; Adam Gray Rare breed pork "˜Scotch egg', warm tartare sauce, pea shoots. English quail and summer truffle pie with buttered kohlrabi  @DomChapman, @adamgraychef, @AnthonyHornChef 8:10pm Intermediate: Intermediate: "˜Fish' Russell Brown; Adrian Oliver; Kieran Smith Saffron-poached tiger prawns with piquillo pepper salsa, sherry reduction, olive oil foam @SiennaDorset, @Adrian_Margots, @Chefkez   8:40pm Main Course: "˜Lamb' Mark Poynton; Russell Bateman Slow cooked NZ lamb, broccoli puree, smoked garlic, Olde Yorke cheese, almonds, wild garlic jus @markalimentum, @RussellBateman, @chefaj82, @chefalyn,   9:25pm Commencement of the auction (and presentation of dessert courses) Live/Video intro to Christchurch by Mayor of Christchurch TBC Pre-Dessert: "˜Eggs and Soldiers' Alex Wood; Ben Goldsmith; Darren Goodwin Coconut white, carrot yolk, carrot juice toast @esenses @Ben_Goldsmith, @darrengdwn, @ythos 9:55pm Dessert: "˜Chocolate orange' Matt Tomkinson; Mark Lloyd; Tom Kneale Dark chocolate delice, lavender ice cream, burnt orange syrup @mtomkinsonchef, @realMarkLloyd, @The_Secret_Chef 10:30pm Sante des Chefs (toast to the chefs) Collection of Table auction ticket envelopes  Cheese: Marcus Bean, Johnnie Mountain Goat's cheese pannacotta & artisan cheeses; Bournes Cheshire, Stichelton, Cenarth brie. Served with quince jelly, spiced apple chutney, cheese tuilles, oatcakes, fruit crisps. @JohnnieWannabe @marcusbeanchef, @chefbennett01 11:00pm Petit Fours & macaroons Luke Mackay; Edd Kimber Pistachio macaroons with saffron butter cream; Rosewater and raspberry macaroons; Rhubarb and hibiscus fruit pastille; Salted Dulce de Leche milk chocolate truffle @lukemackaycooks, @theboywhobakes, @saffronandsalt  11:45pm Auction ends and Open-Cash Bar begins 01:00 Carriages ©Grant Hawthorne MCGB, April 2011
The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th April 2011

Kai We Care recipe for success