On the pass: chefs' football tournament raises money for Farm Africa

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 31st July 2013

A five-a-side football competition between some of the UK’s top restaurants and food suppliers including The Fat Duck and Restaurant Sat Bains, has raised over £2,000 towards Farm Africa’s Chefs' Kilimanjaro Climb led by Ashley Palmer-Watts. The football competition, organised by Paul Foster, head chef of Suffolk’s Tuddenham Mill, took place on Sunday at The Manor school in Cambridge where sixteen top class restaurants, pubs and food suppliers battled it out in the July heat. Organiser Paul Foster said: “It was only six weeks ago that we had the idea for this competition and I’m flattered that so many people from the industry have turned up. There are one-star, two-star and three-star restaurants here as well as suppliers. “It’s a great way to raise the profile of Farm Africa and, for a lot of people who didn’t know about the charity, it will be on their radar now. It’s a great way of networking too; it’s just great for the industry.” The winners of the competition were Direct Meats, a quality meat supplier from Suffolk, who beat Freemasons, a fine dining gastro pub from Lancashire, 3 – 0 in the final. Other teams that competed were The Fat Duck, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal , The Hinds Head, Restaurant Sat Bains, Alimentum, Colette’s at The Grove; and Paul Foster’s own Tuddenham Mill. The tournament was part of the fundraising campaign for Farm Africa’s Chef’s Kilimanjaro Climb in August which will see a group of top food industry professionals climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in support of the African food charity. The team making the ascent of Africa’s highest mountain will comprise tournament organiser Paul Foster; head chef of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Ashley Palmer-Watts; head chef of Restaurant Sat Bains, John Freeman; and senior maître D’ at Bar Boulud, Paulo de Tarso; accompanied by their professional cameraman, Paul Gwilliams. Ashley Palmer-Watts, who originated the idea for the charity hike, was at the tournament to cheer his Dinner by Heston Blumenthal side along. He said: “It’s a great tournament and Paul’s done an amazing job of organising an event like this. I’m really impressed and it’s great that everyone has come out to support it.” The £2,028 raised by the football tournament will go towards the combined total of £50,000 which the team are hoping to raise for their Kilimanjaro trek. All proceeds will go to Farm Africa, a charity which helps poor farmers in eastern Africa by providing them with techniques to improve their harvests, sustain their natural resources and reduce their need for aid. Head of corporate and community fundraising for Farm Africa, Cathy Wentworth, was at the football tournament. She said: “For many people here it will be the first time they’ve heard of Farm Africa so it’s a brilliant opportunity for us. We’re hoping that this might become an annual thing and that restaurants and chefs will continue to support Farm Africa, so this is a really big first step for us.” The tournament began with a group stage of four leagues each containing four teams, the top two of which went into a knockout round. Tuddenham Mill made it through to the quarter finals as did Alimentum and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. However all three restaurants were knocked out before the semi-finals despite Alimentum’s goalkeeper for the day, chef patron Mark Poynton, pulling off some spectacular saves. The semi-finals saw Lancashire gastro pub, Freemasons, knock out Soho’s Burger and Lobster 1-0 and Direct Meats, beat fellow suppliers, Wellocks 3-0. Before the final there was a raffle of top prizes including signed books from Philip Howard at The Square, afternoon tea at the Oxo Tower and a chef’s table for four with lunch and tasting menu at Alan Murchison’s Michelin-starred L’Ortolan. Further funds were raised by Suffolk rare-breed pork farm, Dingley Dell, which catered the event with a hog roast, all proceeds of which went to Farm Africa. Dingley Dell co-owner Mark Hayward said: “A lot of the guys here have done a lot of work with us for our Dingley Dell Flying Visits and it’s nice to return the favour and support what Paul’s doing.” The Chefs' Kilimanjaro climb with take place on 22nd August. For more information and to sponsor the chefs, visit the Farm Africa website.   All photography by John Arandhara-Blackwell www.johnarandharablackwell.co.uk  

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 31st July 2013

On the pass: chefs' football tournament raises money for Farm Africa