Restaurateur Roger Jones is urging the government to support operators by funding them to feed those in isolation in their communities.
The chef and owner of the Harrow at Little Bedwyn in Marlborough, which is currently up for sale, has already begun supplying meals to locals who aren’t able to leave their home using produce that would otherwise have gone to waste due to guests staying away.
He and wife Sue Jones delivered 200 meals on Monday, feeding local residents the likes of lamb casserole, monkfish with wild mushrooms or vegetarian curry.
Jones is now calling on the government to fund this type of community enterprise to both keep operators in business and support those in need.
He told The Caterer: “All over Britain we have the ideal places where food can be produced and if the industry is asking for money from the government, providing one form of payback is providing food for the community.
“That way it’s not just the government bailing people out, it’s the operators doing the community a favour too. Obviously there are many rules and regulations but most operators will know how to produce food and have it delivered safely.”
He added that chefs and restaurateurs were the also well versed in providing nutritious meals and serving them to optimum effect.
“We need to produce what is the most suitable food too,” Jones said. “Providing the items that will help recovery – things you won’t get in a tin. Fresh food and vegetables – which aren’t overcooked – are important and restaurateurs know how to provide that. Each community can look at how to evolve it, but it takes someone in government to say that operators will get a basic sum to retain staff and keep things going.”
Jones added that the scheme could also work well in cities, where workers including doctors and nurses will also need sustenance, along with the vulnerable people living on the streets who rely on handouts from business and the public.
“Among others doctors and nurses need to be fed,” he said. “If certain places were designated as emergency food services it might just help.
There are also the homeless who rely on the kindness of people giving them food or money. Now that’s gone as people stay at home. Places like Pret a Manger who give away a percentage of production at the end of the night, what happens to that if that closes down?”
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