Restaurants around the country are being asked to unite in a fundraising event to raise money for victims of the Asian tsunami disaster.
The event, in support of UNICEF and backed by Caterer & Hotelkeeper and consumer magazine Square Meal, was the brainchild of Philip Howard, chef proprietor of two-Michelin-starred the Square in Mayfair, London.
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Moved by the enormity of the tragedy in the Indian Ocean, Howard is asking restaurants around the country to join him in donating a percentage of their takings on Monday 7 February.
The appeal, called UNICHEF, will raise funds for UNICEF's disaster appeal and will be used to provide clean drinking water and supplementary food for the victims of the tsunami.
As Caterer went to press, more than 20 high-profile restaurants had signed up to the fundraising effort. Most have pledged to donate at least 50% of their takings on 7 February, while some, such as Howard, have decided to donate all their takings.
Howard said he felt compelled to do something after returning to work on 28 December as the full horror of the tsunami was unfolding.
"It seemed a logical route to raise money through UK restaurants and to help UNICEF serve the nutritional needs of children affected by this disaster," he explained.
UNICEF UK director David Bull, who has just returned from Sri Lanka, where he witnessed the devastation, said: "This is an excellent idea and could make a huge difference to the lives of so many children who have had their homes, families, schools and entire lives ripped apart.
"We can all do something to help, and this is such a simple and effective way of harnessing something that we all like to do - eating out - with raising money to protect the lives of children, who right now need everything we have to give."
UNICEF has produced an information pack, which includes point of sale information, guidance for restaurant receptionists when taking bookings, and ideas of how to raise money from customers on the night.
Restaurants around the country are asked to participate in whatever way they can.
Who has signed up so far?
Bleeding Heart, London EC1
Chez Bruce, Wandsworth, London
Clarke's, Kensington, London
Club Gascon, London EC1
Le Gavroche, Mayfair, London
L'Ortolan, Shinfield, Berkshire
Newbury Manor hotel, Berkshire
Odette's, London NW1
The Providores, London W1
Smiths of Smithfield, London EC1
Tom Aikens, Chelsea, London
The Chancery, London EC4
The Don, London EC4
The Farm, Fulham, London
The Square, Mayfair, London
Thyme, Covent Garden, London
Umu, Mayfair, London
Zuma, Knightsbridge, London
Santini, London SW1
Ransome's Dock, Battersea, London
The Wells, London NW3
Villandry, London W1
Searcy's, Barbican, London
- Supplier Wild Harvest has agreed to donate £10,000 to the cause.
- Some restaurants have agreed to sign up to the UNICHEF appeal but want to remain anonymous.
- UNICHEF would like to acknowledge the many other restaurants that have launched their own initiatives to raise money for the tsunami victims.
How to get involved
To get involved with UNICHEF and help thousands of children whose lives have been devastated by the tsunami, e-mail Philip Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Emma Raven at UNICEF on 020 7312 7680.
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 13 January 2005