Let's champion those who are making a positive difference to the hospitality industry in this crisis!

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen wants to reward those in the industry who are doing amazing things amid the Coronavirus crisis. 

Naturally, we all want regular updates on the current situation but we are hearing so many great stories of people in hospitality coming together to try and make a difference.

Let's highlight the positives, to help take our minds off what's going on and recognise how amazing everyone is for pulling together.

Unilever Food Solutions are backing our search and will send a GS-51 Global Cooks knife to the chef hero we champion each weekday - to a total of 10 - over the next 2 weeks.

Free meals for the vulnerable and nhs workers

Contract caterer, Samual Potter and his team Andy Aston, Greg Bramwell, Charlotte Rouse, Gavin Roach and Dan Wilson are making over 200 free meals a day for NHS staff at St George's in Tooting, Homerton in Hackney plus various nursing homes. They are also helping locals who are self isolating.  

Neil Bentinck and the team at Skosh in York are using their excess produce to make meals to be delivered to the local communities in order to assist the isolated and vulnerable. 

Stuart MacGarvie and the team at The Hut in Worthing have turned their office café into a community kitchen, providing meals for locals in isolation and between 300 and 400 weekly meals to the local hospital.

The Gannet, is working with local food banks to produce food packages for vulnerable communities. The venue – the first restaurant in the city to temporarily shut due to COVID-19 ahead of Boris Johnson’s announcement to close pubs, bars and restaurants on March 20 – has teamed up with the Young People’s Future Possilpark charity and Drumchapel Food Bank to deliver meals and supplies to the facilities three times a week.

Caffe Rojano in Padstow and The Mariners in Rock will be offering the most vulnerable neighbors homemade meals available for delivery. Chef owner Paul Ainsworth said: "We realise this service won't stop the virus but we hope it will offer some sort of comfort and relief to those who need it most."

The Brigade is offering a series of healthy soups and stews for free for the more vulnerable and elderly, delivering to those with limited mobility and also available at Brigade for those who need or fancy a chat and a smiling face. 

Cornerstone will close tomorrow and will be using all the food left over to make free care packages for people who need it to come and collect.

The guys from Murano, Cafe Murano and French House Soho are coming together to cook meals for the elderly and those self-isolating in our communities.

From today Restaurant Story will cook for any NHS staff for free, they will also provide homemade bread and pasta for collection. Please contact the restaurant via phone or email.  

Lisa Goodwin-Allen and the team at The Northcote are putting together food bundles to hand out to those in need. 

Niall Keating, Michelin-starred executive chef at Whatley Manor has returned to his home of Stoke-on-Trent, where he will be handing out free meals to NHS staff and those who need it from his food van - codenamed 'the paradise carriage.' 

Private chef Mark Heirs is selling produce - at sales value - and spending the profits on feeding the elderly and vulnerable in Scotland. 

MasterChef: The Professionals judge and chef owner of Mere Restaurant Monica Galetti has been baking and distributing bread to local NHS trusts. 

Butcher Dave Jones is delivering two-week food parcels to anyone on benefits who is self-isolating, having previously pledged free meat to families on Universal Credit who were struggling during the school holidays & offered to pay for school uniforms for those lacking in funds at the start of a new academic year.
The Long Table restaurant, in Brimscombe, Glos, which is offering to deliver free meals to self-isolators who are struggling financially.

Alex Bond, Michelin-starred chef owner of Alchemilla, who until recently was running a delivery service in and around Nottingham with free meals for NHS staff, has decided to stop for the safety of his staff. Now, the chef is preparing 400 meals a week for the city’s hospital trust, which is then distributed to frontline staff, most of whom work in emergency services and ICU units.

The Punch Bar & Tapas in Honley - with chef Richard Dunn at the fore - has taken orders for 200 meals for doctors, nurses and other staff each week for the next three months, which was made by residents Ian and Jill Swire who donated £20,000 towards it. 

Together with his wife Louise and sous-chef Georgia, Michelin-starred chef James Sommerin have, as of March 27th, served almost 3000 meals to NHS staff working at the Heath hospital in Cardiff, and has said they plan to do so continuously throughout the crisis.

The Corrigans have been sending packages from the Virginia Park Lodge to foodbanks around Ireland.

The Mildred’s restaurant group has committed to delivering 400 meals every week to four London hospitals to support NHS frontline staff caring for coronavirus patients. 

Matt Healy and his team at The Foundry in Leeds fundraised almost £4,000 to cook and deliver Sunday roasts to NHS staff at the local hospital. 

Fine-dining Indian restaurant in Mayfair, Benares, is providing a free meal to an NHS worker for every delivery order it receives. 

Chester restaurants, bars and street food vendors - The Sticky Walnut, Chef’s Table, Joseph Benjamin, The Suburbs, Death by Tacos, Meltdown Chester and Covino -  are taking turns to prepare meals for a local homeless charity, the Soul Kitchen, ensuring that people who can’t stay indoors to protect themselves against the coronavirus have a cooked meal everyday.

Free gin cocktails to get through self-isolation

The Langham hotel bar Artesian has teamed up with No. 3 Gin to create and distribute cocktails to self-isolating Londoners.

Free chocolate for hospital staff

Following the closure of its Belgian, Parisian and London Boutiques, chocolatier Pierre Marcolini donated its stocks of chocolates, delicacies and pastries to the hospitals of Brussels, Paris and London. 

Free toiletries for hospital patients

Rockliffe Hall has donated hundreds of toiletries to County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust following an appeal for products to help patients. The hotel in Hurworth, near Darlington, gifted 576 shower gels, which normally go in guests’ rooms, to Darlington Memorial Hospital after a message went out asking for products for many patients who don’t have any toiletries, due to the current ban on visitors.

Free Meals for school children

With schools closed for most children other than those of NHS workers, London's Qoot Restaurant Group (Dominque Ansel Bakery, The Gentlemen Baristas, by CHLOE etc.) will offer free meals - a sandwich, a snack and a drink - to those eligible for free meals but unable to get them at the moment. 

Qoot’s COO Simon Wright said: “Covid-19 is an existential threat to the UK’s most vulnerable families, if we at Qoot can go some way in relieving that threat then at least there will be some positive to rise from this tragic time for the hospitality industry and our nation as a whole.”

Takeaway services

Ryan Blackburn, who owns Kysty and Michelin-starred The Old Stamp House in Ambleside. He is adapting his business to support his team and his local community by creating a menu at Kysty offering simple, wholesome, affordable food for people to be able to takeaway and eat at home.

He said: ‘’There’s no doubt that this situation is unprecedented. We have to react to it for the sake of our businesses, for the sake of our staff and to pull together for our local community. We could be precious about the food we create but at the end of the day with an uncertain economic situation we have to be realistic and offer simple, wholesome, affordable food for people to be able to takeaway and eat in the comfort of their own homes. This way we can try to support both ourselves and local residents, after all, we are all in the same boat!’’

Lime Recruit, based in Leamington Spa, have seen all of their business disappear overnight due to the Covid-19 crisis, but has diversified in order to keep trading and its staff in jobs.

Chris Goodson, Managing Director of Lime Recruit said “After the truly awful events that are affecting our industry, we had to make a harsh decision – keep doing what we have always done and trade as we were, which would have led to us closing the doors for good, or temporarily change what we do. All of our team come from the Catering and Hospitality world, and our Chef consultants Duncan and Dominic have worked at the highest level – Duncan was none other than Marcus Wareing’s Sous Chef and Dominic was Head Chef at Earls Court, so we had the resources to do something, so Dine with Lime was born! We will be cooking some delicious, tasty food for home delivery or collection, with a number of options that will be perfect for Weight Watchers or Slimming World subscribers - and some home comforts as well!”

Mark Poynton foresaw that the crisis would soon require social distancing and decided to switch to delivery-only meals several weeks ago, offering one, two or three course meals at a price barely exceeding that of Waitrose's ready meals. Additionally, all unsold food is donated to NHS staff.

As well as takeaway food and drink, The George Inn in Vernham Dean is offering hot meals free of charge for those who need it, and even delivering them to those who can't leave their homes. 

From restaurant to local shop

The Salutation Inn chef and co-owner Tom Williams-Hawkes has turned the hotel and restaurant into a corner shop to serve the local community. Although it runs at a loss, and he's unsure how long it will be able to stay open for, he told The Telegraph: “We’ve forgotten about being in this for the money. This is about serving a small town.”

Helping local businesses sell produce normally supplied to restaurants

Edinburgh restaurant Fhior is setting up a delivery service - bringing suppliers' produce to people's homes at a time when supermarket shelves are barren and producers have no restaurants to sell to.

Drop-off points 

Liverpool's Duke Street food and drink market announced it will become a drop-off point where people can donate goods at a safe distance from staff inside. The market is asking people to leave non-perishable goods in the foyer, in order to redistribute them to those who have been affected by the virus. Matt Farrell, one of the market’s directors, said: "We want to do all that we can to support people within the hospitality industry who may be struggling during this time."

Feeding professionals who've lost their jobs as a result of the outbreak

Michelin-starred Claude Bosi  has decided that given how many chefs have lost their jobs to the outbreak, he would keep his team on and have them cook meals for their fellow cooks.

He said: "We've got an issue. We've got a lot of young chefs in the industry who've been put on the street with nothing behind it. We have a responsibility. I've decided with my team, we will pay them - their salary, or part of their salary, whatever help we're getting - to provide a meal for these young kids who've been put on the street with nothing. 

"I think it's important for us to do this - we're going to cook a meal a day, a stew, a soup, a sandwich, whatever we can do, and hopefully with the help of our suppliers, with what we've got in the fridge and with help from friends in the industry who're closing too and wondering what to do with all of this. Let's feed these young kids. Let's organise meals and give it to them." 

Taking care of their own staff 

Street food vendor The Athenian Greek is giving its staff an extra helping hand by providing them a weekly delivery of basic food and household necessities. 

This is a move mirrored by Robin Gill, whose staff at The Dairy and Darby's have been given food hampers to see them through what could be a long wait before things get back to normal, as well as cooking meals for NHS staff on the front lines. 

Cook-alongs, recipes and free advice

Head chef at the Brehon hotel in Killarney Chad Byrne has taken to his social media pages, broadcasting cook-alongs for making meals stretch and offering tips on how to make the most of foraged ingredients.

Palm's Court Scarborough head chef Luke Daniels is putting his knowledge to good use, too.

He said: "If anyone is struggling during the recent outbreak to make meals out of what they have or are looking to make things stretch further, send me a dm and I'll see how I can help.

"People in hospitality still have alot we can offer to those affected by covid-19 even if it's just helping people make nutritious meals out of what they have. 

Lightening utility bills 

To help local pub owners minimise overheads and waste, the Penton Park Brewery in Andover is offering to store their cask ales for them. 

Let us know of anyone you think should be celebrated and we will champion them across all of our platforms!

In these challenging times…

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 3rd April 2020

Let's champion those who are making a positive difference to the hospitality industry in this crisis!