CHEFS COOK UP A CELEBRATORY DINNER

CHEFS COOK UP A CELEBRATORY DINNER
Anna Hedworth

Anna Hedworth

Executive Chef 7th March 2017

CHEFS COOK UP A CELEBRATORY DINNER

Some of the
top chefs in the North East of England recently came together for a unique,
celebratory dinner to raise money to support aid work in war torn Syria.

The idea for
the Something
for Syria event was cooked up by friends Sarah Melling, who works at
Newcastle tea company Ringtons and local chef and owner of the award-winning
eatery Cook House, Anna Hedworth, who sit on fundraising committee, One Good
Deed.

To date more
than £33,000 has been raised for the British Red Cross from the Syrian inspired
banquet where 200 people packed into the Wylam Brewery, Newcastle, with a
dream-team of senior chefs and rising culinary talent.

Among the senior, nationally renowned chefs, were Terry Laybourne
(21 Hospitality Group), who was the first chef to bring a Michelin Star to the
North East in the 1990s; along with James Close from the two star Michelin
restaurant, The Raby Hunt, near Darlington.

Other talent included head chef at Wylam, Tony Renwick, Shaun
Hurrell (Barrio Comida), Chris Eagle (Saltwater Fish Co), Dan Warren (The Broad
Chare), Helen Doyle (21), multi-award winning Rhian Craddock and the team from
The Feathers Inn, Gary Dall (The Roxburgh) and Matt Brown (Harissa Kitchen).
Ken Holland (North Country Organics) provided fruit and vegetables.

There was also an impressive team of front of house volunteers led
by Helen Craddock (The Feathers Inn) and Nick Shottel (21).

The story behind Something For Syria is both inspiring and
impressive in how quickly the committee made it come together.

Sarah Melling explained: “A letter written by a doctor working for
the Red Cross in Aleppo appeared on the BBC’s website just before Christmas
last year. After reading the harrowing account, Anna and I were determined
to actually do something to help in our own small way. A group of our
close friends felt the same so we got together to form the committee and hatch
a plan.”

Anna Hedworth explained further: “We didn’t want to put on a
normal fundraising event. We wanted something that showcased some of the most
creative and innovative talents in the North East. Right from the start, food
and art were going to play a big part in the night.”

Dave Stone from Wylam Brewery was immediately on board and donated
the venue for the night. Every chef Anna approached from her impressive
contacts said yes. Then the art began to be donated and within weeks of having
the idea, the event was sold out.

Chef Terry Laybourne said: “In true Middle Eastern style, there
was a sharing theme to the dinner, a spirit reflected by the generous dishes
and the collaborative approach taken by all the chefs involved in the banquet.
It was a privilege to work with such a great team of chefs and support such an
inspirational fundraiser.”

(Details
about the spectacular menu can be found at the end of this release.)

An Art auction featuring original work by internationally renowned
artists such as HUSH and Prefab77 was among the highlights of the evening. That
and a ‘posh’ raffle raised over £14,000 on the night with bids coming in from
all over the world. The star of the show, the HUSH piece was won by a local art
lover who fought off bids from serious collectors in the room and online, with
a bid of over £5,000.

The organisers decided to use Just Giving as the portal for guests
to pay for tickets and anyone who wanted to just donate to the
cause could do so through the site also.

“It was important that people knew that the money was going to the
British Red Cross via Just Giving was being specifically used for projects and
aid work in Syria,” says Sarah: “We approached the Red Cross at the very start
and the senior fundraiser for the North East attended the event and gave a
harrowing account of the situation in Syria and why the money was so
important.”

Anna goes on: “But it wasn't all negative. Margaret explained that
some of our money was being used to help rebuild a bakery in Aleppo because the
Red Cross felt that resonated well with the theme of our evening. The chefs
involved were delighted about that and it got everyone in the room fired up to
make as much money as possible from the auction.”

Donations are still welcome and being accepted via: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/somethingforsyria