Food supplier Belazu Ingredients has announced that its Chefs in Schools Virtual Banquet on 29 May raised almost £60,000 in aid of the Chefs in Schools charity.
The funds will provide 60,000 meals for vulnerable families in need, potentially tripling the charity's reach in the coming months, and in particular during the summer holidays when it is needed most.
The Virtual Banquet, attended by nearly 2,000 people and hosted by Chefs in Schools co-founder Henry Dimbleby, were instructed on how to cook their dishes at home by chefs Yotam Ottolenghi, Angela Hartnett, James Elliott, Thomasina Miers, Helen Graham, Ramael Scully, Josh Katz and Jeremy Lee. Pasilla Margarita demonstrated an introductory cocktail.
Comedian Wendy Wason and magician Chris Dodd entertained diners inbetween courses throughout the 3.5-hour-event.
Diners were sent a box with all the ingredients they needed and a weblink to join the virtual dining experience. Fresh produce and the delivery of boxes were organised by Belazu's sister company Wellocks at Home.
Naomi Duncan, chief executive of Chefs in Schools, said: "Belazu has re-invented the concept of a fundraising dinner and brought a lot of joy to so many households during lockdown, creating a shared experience when so many of us feel isolated.
"Not only did the event raise an incredible amount of money for our work, it also raised awareness of the pressing need to get good quality, fresh food to children at home. We are so grateful to everyone who came together to make this happen in just a few short weeks. We can't thank them enough for their time, donations and support."
Jeremy Lee of Quo Vadis said: "Hats off to all involved and to everyone partaking, it's a great way of getting kids aware of what good food is."
George Bennell, co-founder of Belazu, added: "We'd love to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to our amazing, long-term customers; our hospitality community has been so professionally devastated by this crisis but, yet again, these chefs are ready to pitch in so selflessly to help those in need."
The Belazu Foundation has been raising funds for food-related, educational projects that help disadvantaged individuals at home and abroad since 2003. Chefs in Schools is a charity that places professional, restaurant-trained chefs in primary schools to transform their food, food culture and food education. During lockdown, Chefs in Schools have created an emergency fund to deal with the crisis in which the number of households with children going hungry has doubled, leaving more than a fifth of families without access to enough food.