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The Great British Chefs NSPCC Dinner 2016

The Great British Chefs NSPCC Dinner 2016

Great British Chefs 24 November 2016

We brought together four of the UK's best chefs (plus one of Italy's for good measure) and got them to cook up a storm, all in the name of a great cause. See what was on the menu, how much money we raised and how the night unfolded.

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Great British Chefs has been raising money for the NSPCC each year since 2012, and this year we wanted to make it bigger and better than anything we’ve done before. Our annual winter gala is always a great night for everyone involved, with chefs eager to show off their culinary skills for a great cause, but 2016's event, held on 8 November, was more successful than we could've imagined. The event was held at The Guildhall in London and catered by the team at Mosimann's, who made it possible to serve the 470 guests without a single hiccup. An incredible £275,000 was raised for NSPCC Childline in just one night, as philanthropic foodies enjoyed a night of amazing food, fine wine, good company and the chance to bid on some truly special prizes.

The menu was a unique, exclusive collaboration between four British chefs and one Italian chef, all holders of a Michelin star and experts in their field. James Mackenzie of The Pipe and Glass Inn in Yorkshire; Simon Hulstone of The Elephant in Devon, Geoffrey Smeddle of The Peat Inn in Fife and Mark Jordan of Ocean at The Atlantic in Jersey were joined by Francesco Apreda, the head chef of Imàgo in Rome, who has made his name by effortlessly combining Italian and Indian flavours into incredible, nationally recognised dishes.

Throughout the evening, guests were able to bid on various lots in our silent auction, kindly donated by chefs and businesses who wanted to help raise money for the NSPCC. Tom Aikens, Pierre Koffmann, Vivek Singh, Alyn Williams and Marcus Wareing might not have been in the kitchen on the night, but they each offered incredible dining experiences for the evening which helped to raise a substantial amount of money.

As well as the chef experiences, bidders could compete for a private box at Ascot Racecourse, a meal on board the historic Belmond British Pullman train, six magnums of wine from Les Caves de Pyrene, steak knives from Goodfellows, a Big Green Egg, an incredible experience at The Boundary Hotel, a Lavazza coffee machine, sous vide equipment from SousVide Tools and wines from Naked Wines – all of which were all snapped up quickly. We’d like to thank each and every chef and company who kindly offered something for the evening.

The food

Of course, the one thing everyone was really looking forward to on the night was the food. A five-course banquet, each one cooked by a different Michelin-starred chef using the best ingredients available is a dream come true for any foodie, and every dish was received enthusiastically. Serving 470 guests simultaneously is no mean feat, and the chefs were certainly rushed off their feet in the kitchen, but everything went smoothly and the entire menu was presented seemingly effortlessly in the dining room.

 
 

James Mackenzie of the Michelin-starred Pipe and Glass Inn was up first, bringing some east Yorkshire ingredients down from his home county with him. The perfect seasonal starter with flavours of damsons, sloes and pease pudding, the ballotine of ham hock and Yorkshire pheasant set things off on the right track.

 
 

Next up was Francesco Apreda, who had travelled over from his restaurant Imàgo in Rome, Italy, especially for the event. Perfectly cooked pasta and little cubes of fried potato were served with a generous helping of king crab meat, all brought together with a thick, velvety spiced curry sauce.

 
 

The fish course was in the very capable hands of Jersey’s own Mark Jordan, whose Michelin-starred Ocean at The Atlantic restaurant is held in high regard for its dedication to using the best of the island’s produce. His risotto didn’t actually include any rice at all, instead combining Jersey squid and cauliflower in a silky sauce topped with raw scallop, pickled cauliflower, anchovy velouté and a crispy shard of squid ink tapioca.

 
 

Travelling up from Devon, Simon Hulstone served up venison from Exmoor two ways – roast loin and haunch croquette – with crunchy grilled Tenderstem broccoli, cep mushrooms and wafer-thin slices of pickled turnip.

 
 

To round the evening off, Geoffrey Smeddle celebrated Scotland’s artisan chocolatiers with his bean-to-bar praline mousse, served with a scoop of whisky ice cream. It was the perfect evening to the perfect night, and with £275,000 raised for the NSPCC, the guests went home satisfied they’d helped fund an incredibly important cause.

 
 

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The Great British Chefs NSPCC Dinner 2016

 
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