Culinary Ability Awards appeals to restaurants to open up their kitchens

Gavin Cuthbertson, commercial director, Two Fat Ladies

The Culinary Ability Awards is calling on restaurants across the UK to offer up places in their kitchens and dining rooms to give individuals with disabilities the chance to showcase their skills.

The not-for profit social enterprise, which was founded more than a decade ago and has helped thousands of people with disabilities to work in the catering industry, recently piloted its independent takeover fundraiser at the renowned Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery restaurant in Glasgow.

Three chefs and four front-of-house staff with disabilities were invited to work alongside the existing team, with guests providing payment for their meals in the form of donations. The night proved to be such a success – catering for 50 covers on a traditionally less busy weekday evening – that the establishment is currently exploring ways to integrate the young charges into their day-to-day operation.

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Gavin Cuthbertson, commercial director for Two Fat Ladies, said: “We raised a lot for a great cause, but it’s not just about the money, it’s about giving people with disabilities the opportunity to show that they can thrive in hospitality and change perceptions. For one night they absolutely ran the show, we were simply the support act.”

Culinary Ability Awards founder and chef, Chris Sandford, said the organisation is now looking for independent restaurants across the UK where they can hold similar fundraising events and continue to champion disability in the hospitality industry.

“This is just the beginning for us – our long term goal is to raise funds to become an official training provider and create pathways that make it much easier for people with disabilities to work in the industry. We’re calling on UK restaurants to let us take over the running of the establishment for one night.

“Giving people a chance is one of the greatest aspects of hospitality – the Glasgow event proved that doing this doesn’t just help populate the dining room on a quieter night, it creates a noise in the local community and means so much more to everyone involved.”

Restaurants looking to work with The Culinary Ability Awards can contact it at: hello@culinaryabilityawards.com

Donations can also be made to the cause by visiting http://www.culinaryabilityawards.com/join-in/

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