Culinary Ability Awards calls on restaurants to offer those with disabilities a place in their kitchen

The Staff Canteen

The Culinary Ability Awards is calling on independent restaurants across the UK to offer up places in their kitchens and dining rooms, giving individuals with disabilities the chance to showcase their skills.

L to R Gavin Cuthbertson Commercial Director Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery Chris Sandford CEO and Founder Culinary Ability Awards Ryan James Restaurant Owner Two Fat LadiesCulinary ability awardsThe not-for profit social enterprise recently piloted its independent takeover fundraiser at the Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery restaurant in Glasgow. Three chefs and four front-of-house staff with disabilities were invited to work alongside the existing team, with guests providing payment for their meals in the form of donations. The night proved to be such a success – catering for 50 covers on a traditionally less busy weekday evening – and is now exploring ways to integrate the young charges into their day-to-day operation.

Commercial Director for Two Fat Ladies, Gavin Cuthbertson, said: “The participants were absolutely outstanding on the night; the food and service was excellent. We had guests from hotels, restaurants and colleges alongside regulars. It was a fantastic way of giving back to the community.

“We raised a lot for a great cause, but it’s not just about the money, it’s about giving people with disabilities the opportunity to show that they can thrive in hospitality and change perceptions. For one night they absolutely ran the show, we were simply the support act.”

Culinary Ability Awards founder and chef, Chris Sandford, commented:"Thank you to Gavin and the team at Two Fat Ladies for letting the Culinary Ability Awards take over The Buttery for a night. What he, his team and the gathered diners experienced was something I see day-in-day-out from these inspirational characters – hard work, skill, dedication and a desire to simply be one of the team. I’m absolutely delighted, therefore, that Two Fat Ladies are looking at ways to work with them long-term.”

Chris and his team are now looking for independent restaurants across the UK where they can hold similar fundraising events and continue to champion disability in the hospitality industry.

Chris continued: “This is just the beginning for us – our long term goal is to raise funds to become an official training provider and create pathways that make it much easier for people with disabilities to work in the industry. We’re calling on UK restaurants to let us take over the running of the establishment for one night. Giving people a chance is one of the greatest aspects of hospitality – the Glasgow event proved that doing this doesn’t just help populate the dining room on a quieter night, it creates a noise in the local community and means so much more to everyone involved.”

Those restaurants looking to work with The Culinary Ability Awards can contact [email protected]

Alternatively, if you aren’t a restaurateur, you can still donate by going to

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th May 2016

Culinary Ability Awards calls on restaurants to offer those with disabilities a place in their kitchen