“We thought: let’s keep it going and try to lead the attack. But this is a big idea, we have experience coming up with big ideas, let’s see who is behind us.”
Home Kitchen’s origins can be traced back to the 2020 Covid lockdowns where Soup Kitchen London worked on a shabby team of volunteers to feed 160 people a day.
When a grueling job left the chef in the soup kitchen on Whitfield Street burnt out and in need of a break, Alexander Brown, who runs Soup Kitchen London and is also one of the founders of Home Kitchen, called on Symonds to step in to help with the pandemic shutdown. restaurants.
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“I was a little embarrassed to ask him if he’d be interested in coming because you look at what he’s accomplished in his career,” Brown said.
“I ask him to come and cook with ingredients as we don’t know what we’re getting day in and day out and he jumped right away.”
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This sowed the seed of the start of the project. Since then, they have worked to put the infrastructure in place.
The group discovered a location for the restaurant and is now in the process of preparing Raised £450,000 To cover the rent and costs of running the restaurant, including paying and training employees. Meanwhile, owner Network Rail has kept the site on option while securing funding.
Efforts are also focused on recruitment and training with Soup Kitchen London working with the Beyond Food Foundation, Crisis, Beam and More than a Pavement Away to find candidates who would take advantage of this opportunity.
The business is also looking for job opportunities to move beyond Home Kitchen.
Meal delivery service Fresh Fitness Food has committed to hiring staff after the pop-up ends. “Our commitment to hiring two proactive employees is a small part we can do in creating healthy communities and a healthy planet,” said Caspar Rose, CEO of Fresh Fitness Food.
Working with a group of entirely entry-level employees will be a new experience for Simmonds, who has earned Michelin stars for his work at Ynyshir Hall in Wales and Adam Simmonds Restaurant at Danesfield House in Buckinghamshire.
Symonds told The Big Issue that his personal challenges inspired him to give others the tools to help themselves.
Symonds, who starred in the BBC programme Great British menu.
“I’ve gone through my own mental health and addiction challenges. In the end, I could have been on the streets four years ago, if I hadn’t gotten my family behind me, and that’s really what I was. I’m not saying I was there, but it came close.”
“But this isn’t about me, it’s about giving guys faith and encouraging them. Yes, it’s a different environment than what I’ve worked in before, but it’s all about taking care of them and making sure we can work as a team. It’s important for me to be on a level with these guys” .
The Home Kitchen is set to open in the coming weeks depending on how the fundraising process progresses.
The cost of living crisis will have intensified by then with soaring inflation and rising energy bills testing households and businesses despite Liz Truss’ support package.
But this did not deter the team behind the social project. In fact, it reinforced the determination to cook a broader solution to society’s social problems.
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“When there’s a big romantic idea people give up and we feel like that’s the idea,” Michael Brown said.
“We don’t want her to live and die within a 13-week period, part of the reason we raise the money is so we can use that as a springboard to expand this, perhaps as a privilege wherever there is an issue with homelessness.”
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