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Restaurants flock to support UNICHEF

19 January 2005 by

Restaurants from all parts of the UK have signed up to UNICHEF, the restaurant fundraising initiative in support of UNICEF, which was launched in Caterer last week.

The event, which will be held on Monday 7 February, calls for restaurants to donate a percentage of their takings from the day.

In less than a week, more than 60 restaurants have signed up to take part, ranging from high-profile Michelin-starred premises to a modest tearoom on the Isle of Arran in Scotland.

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Restaurant takings and staff wages and tips will help the tsunami victims

The appeal was the brainchild of Philip Howard, chef-proprietor of two-Michelin-starred the Square in London. He said it was inspiring that so many and such a varied sample of restaurants had agreed to take part.

"It's not only the big London names - plenty of simpler, rural operators have signed up, too. In several cases it's not only the restaurant takings that are being donated, but also the staff have volunteered their wages and tips. It's all very humbling and impressive."

He added that a group of restaurant PRs were also masterminding publicity to ensure that all seats from participating restaurants were sold at least once on 7 February.

As Caterer went to press, at least 60 restaurants had volunteered, including the three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, Giorgio Locatelli's Locanda Locatelli, Putney Bridge in Putney, and the River Café in Hammersmith.

Restaurants outside the capital have joined the event, stretching the initiative across the UK. These include the 40-cover Bistro de la Mer in Falmouth, Cornwall, run by chef-proprietor Tony Ward, who said that being so close to the sea made the tsunami tragedy particularly poignant. "We've decided to donate all our takings to help those suffering from the tsunami," he said. "Our staff have decided to work for nothing and suppliers have agreed to credit our food costs for the night."

Other restaurants joining in from around the country include Grace O'Neils in Donaghadee in Northern Ireland, reportedly the oldest pub in Ireland. Further north, the Old Pier Tea Room on the Isle of Arran will be giving its lunchtime takings to the cause.

The initiative is also being supported by Paramount, the group behind the Chez Gérard, Bertorelli, Whitebait and Café Fish brands. Chief executive Nick Basing said: "We haven't quite finalised it yet, but we will be making a significant donation from all four brands. We're delighted to be involved in an industry-wide event and to be supporting UNICEF."

The money raised by UNICHEF will go to UNICEF's disaster appeal. The appeal is backed by Caterer and consumer magazine Square Meal.

For the full list of restaurants taking part and to see find out how you can participate click here.

Where your cash could go

UNICEF in Indonesia

  • Supplying emergency health kits for 40,000 people and basic water, food and medicine for 1.2 million people, half of whom are under five.
  • Setting up 2,000 temporary schools for 100,000 children.
  • Providing children with vaccines and vitamin A capsules to counter measles.
  • Establishing 20 children's centres to help family reunification, psychosocial support and temporary accommodation.

Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 20 January 2005

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