The Burnt Chef Project’s inaugural gala dinner raises more than £32,000

Alex South

Alex South


Out of the Shadows, the first ever gala dinner hosted by The Burnt Chef Project in Bournemouth on the 17th November, raised more than £32k for the not-for-profit social enterprise.

Welcoming almost 200 chefs, operators, manufacturers, suppliers and industry associates to the Vitality Stadium, the inaugural gala dinner, titled ‘Out of the Shadows’ was an evening to reminisce, raise awareness and celebrate the work done by the project.

The night offered a rare chance for many to stop and reflect on the need for mental health support and the effort to eliminate mental health stigma in our industry.

A charity raffle and a silent auction, with prizes including a session in the ring with boxing legend, former heavyweight world champion and guest speaker for the evening, Frank Bruno MBE, helped raise a combined total of more than £32,000.

Initially launching in Bournemouth in 2019 the decision to host the dinner at AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium was seen as somewhat of a homecoming for The Burnt Chef Project.

Hosted by Jed Stone, a compere known for his quick engaging wit and comical way with words, the guests were treated to a sensational, moving and inspired performance by spoken word artist, Joe Bellman.

Using the power of words to drive home the impact that mental health can have on those in the hospitality industry, Joe received a standing ovation from the room.

A wonderful three-course dinner, prepared by AFC Bournemouth’s Head of Catering Operations, Paul Fudge and his team was served to those attending the event, before the night’s headliner, Frank Bruno MBE, took to the stage.

A boxing icon and previous heavy-weight champion of the world, Bruno has openly discussed challenges he faced with his own mental health over the years.

Expertly interviewed by Stone, Frank’s combination of humour, scintillating stories and raw honesty captivated the room, helping to raise awareness of how mental health can affect anyone and at almost any time.

On the success of the first gala dinner, Kris Hall, Founder of The Burnt Chef Project comments: "I could not be more proud of how our first Out of the Shadows gala dinner went - it’s credit to our extremely dedicated and hard working team of individuals. I want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to our partners, Unox, Talenthive, Liberation Group, Performance Leadership Group and the team from AFC Bournemouth as without them, we simply couldn’t have organised the event."

He added: "I would also like to thank Jed Stone, Joe Bellman and Frank Bruno MBE for their time and support at the event. To have almost 200 of the industry’s most influential operators and suppliers in one room was fantastic and to have raised more than £32,000 is nothing short of extraordinary - thanks to everyone involved."

Scott Duncan, Managing Director of headline partner, Unox UK added: “Well done to the entire The Burnt Chef Project team on planning, managing and hosting such a great evening - Unox UK is delighted to have been able to support such an important cause. Eradicating the stigma around mental health in our industry is vital and the ongoing work of The Burnt Chef Project is playing a key part in this movement. We look forward to continuing our partnership and supporting Kris and the team in 2023 and beyond.”

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Alex South

Alex South

Editor 2nd December 2022

The Burnt Chef Project’s inaugural gala dinner raises more than £32,000