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UNICHEF expects to raise six-figure sum for tsunami victims

04 February 2005 by
UNICHEF expects to raise six-figure sum for tsunami victims

Restaurants around the country will unite on Monday night (7 February) in a phenomenal fundraising initiative that is likely to raise as much as £250,000 for UNICEF and the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami.

The initiative, called UNICHEF, which was launched in Caterer nearly a month ago, was the brainchild of Philip Howard, chef-proprietor of the two-Michelin-starred

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Common purpose (from left): Giorgio Locatelli, Rainer Becker, Atul Kochhar, Sally Clarke, Philip Howard, Tom Aikens and Theo Randall will be among the chefs giving up a share of their takings for disaster relief
London restaurant, the Square. In just under four weeks nearly 200 restaurants have agreed to take part, with more still expected to sign up. All participating restaurants have agreed to donate a percentage of their takings on the night. The effort is likely to raise a substantial sum for UNICEF's emergency appeal to help children in the tsunami-affected areas. UNICHEF has captured the imagination of the restaurant industry across the UK, from the oldest pub in Northern Ireland and a tearoom on the Isle of Arran to a contract caterer in Durham. In the past week more big-name venues have agreed to take part, including celebrity haunt the Ivy and the Mandarin Oriental hotel, both in the capital. London's 18-strong wine bar chain Balls Brothers has also signed up, joining three other groups - the Restaurant Group, Paramount and the Real Greek Group. Conran Restaurants has also agreed to channel all money raised from its individual fundraising effort to the UNICHEF appeal. Howard said he was thrilled at how the industry had supported the idea. "There is a fantastic variety of restaurants taking part," he said. "How much money we raise now depends on how many punters we get through the doors, so it is crucial that every participating restaurant tries to get as many paying customers in as possible." Anita Tiessen, deputy director of UNICEF UK, said: "Pop stars have done it, authors have done it, now it's the chefs' turn. We've been mightily impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of the restaurant trade, and we're hugely grateful to everyone who's getting involved on our behalf," she said. To get involved contact emmar@unicef.org.uk or ring 020 7312 7680. The desire to helpCaterer spoke to a few UNICHEF participants to see what led them to sign up… "The tsunami reminds us as successful restaurateurs how we can share with others less lucky." Rainer Becker, chef-proprietor, Roka and Zuma, London "It's a great cause and the initiative is a great way to get people interested in it. Hopefully, it will be fun." Tom Aikens, chef-proprietor, Tom Aikens, London "We had been planning a fundraiser after hearing about the devastation first-hand from a staff member who had arrived in Thailand just after the disaster. "After hearing about UNICHEF, staff at the restaurant volunteered to work for nothing, so all takings from the fully booked night are going to the appeal. We will not be mentioning the event to customers, as we are aware many will have donated already. This is about the team's effort - I'm very proud of them." Giorgio Locatelli, chef-proprietor, Locanda Locatelli, London "We felt it was too important an opportunity to miss and signed up without hesitation. The industry needed to do something, and I feel this is wonderfully appropriate." Sally Clarke, chef-proprietor, Clarke's, London *Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 3 February 2005*
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