Chef Sat Bains' highest ever dinner party attempt is in full swing, with the team having completed their journey to Lhasa, Tibet, and preparing to drive to Everest Base Camp tomorrow.
The project, which will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the highest ever formal dinner party, is raising money for Community Action Nepal, and will see the two-Michelin-starred chef serve a full meal on 27 April at Everest's North Col, more than 23,000 ft (7,100 m) above sea level.
They are seeking to raise £100,000, and are accepting donations via the JustGiving site here. At the time of writing they have raised nearly £21,000. Separately, Bains is raising money for industry charity, Hospitality Action.
The menu will comprise a wheat soup with sweetcorn, shimeji and kombu; beef Bourgignon with aged cheek and potatoes; and a chocolate dessert with miso, caramel and salt.
The dinner party team is formed of Sat Bains, chef at Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham; Neil Laughton, expedition leader and former SAS captain; Jon Maguire, expedition photographer and film producer; Adrian Bridge, serial mountaineer and marathoner; and Dr Keith MacDonald, GP and adventurer; while the summit attempt team is formed of mountaineers, adventurers and writers Ted Atkins, Duncan Law, Deri Llewlleyn-Davies, Adam Mason, and Andrew Elliman.
It is also being financially supported by stockbroker John Askew, from London.
The expedition began on 11 April when the team arrived in Lhasa, and has now progressed, via sightseeing of monasteries and palaces, to the Tibetan town of Shegar, already 12,792ft (3,900m) high. They are set to arrive at Everest base camp on 16 April, where they will spend 48 hours acclimatising before trekking to the intermediate Camp and the Advanced Base Camp over the next two days.
The team, from left: Andrew Elliman, John Askew, Deri Lewellyn-Davies, Dr Keith McDonald and Neil Laughton
Sherpas will then join the company, following a Buddhist prayer ceremony, with the climb to the North Col scheduled for 26 April. The team will then descend to Base Camp by 2 May, and fly back from Lhasa on 6 May.
Despite its detail, however, the itinerary has been labelled as "tentative" by the organisers, due not just to varied weather, but also to the changing progress in rope fixing, and other vagaries such as the "availability of yaks".
Sat Bains is no stranger to raising money for hospitality charities, as a familiar face appearing at events such as the six-course dinner held at Hibiscus Mayfair in March this year, alongside Claude Bosi and other chefs Daniel Clifford, Andrew Fairlie, Tom Kerridge, Paul Cunningham, and Henne Kirkeby Kro.
Speaking to The Caterer when the trip was first announced in January this year, Bains said: "I know it sounds crazy, but I think as you get older you want to do new and exciting things. I am a bit nervous, but if we manage to do it, what a great achievement, to have a sit-down meal, three-quarters of the way up Mount Everest? It suits me, it suits my character."
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