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Top chefs and critics help raise over £35,000 for Action Against Hunger

Top chefs and critics help raise over £35,000 for Action Against Hunger

Too Many Critics 2008

21 October 2008

On October 19th 2008, Too Many Critics saw a host of celebrities, including Raymond Blanc, Tom Parker Bowles and Deborah Meaden, come together for an exclusive charity feast that raised more than £35,000 for humanitarian charity Action Against Hunger.

The highlight of Restaurants Against Hunger Month, Too Many Critics saw a brave band of food critics, including Charles Campion, Jay Rayner, Matthew Fort, and Tom Parker Bowles swap their keyboards for chopping boards in the kitchen of Royal Exchange Grand Café and Bar to prepare a sumptuous, five-course fundraising banquet.

With discerning diners including celebrated chefs Raymond Blanc, Shane Osborn, Ed Baines and Oliver Prince, the critics welcomed the inter-course charity auction, providing relief from the culinary performance pressure. The biggest bid of the night was pitched in by Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden. After a heated bidding war, the TV dragon told the Christies’ auctioneer where she was at, successfully bidding £4,500 to secure a place on a field trip to Zambia. The prize will allow her a rare opportunity to witness first-hand the vital life-saving work of Action Against Hunger in its fight against malnutrition.

Another stunning sale came in the shape of three plates, hand decorated by Heston Blumenthal, Gordon Ramsay and Fergus Henderson, the top three UK chefs in this year’s S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants. The hammer came down on these unique works at a fantastic £2,800, sold to Cardiff restaurateur Babak Arabestani.

The evening also saw Action Against Hunger present three very special awards. Carluccio’s scooped the award for Most Charitable Restaurant Group – since signing up to the charity’s Restaurant Against Hunger campaign in August 2007, they have raised a staggering £177,000, simply by making a donation of 50p from each sale of penne giardiniera, their most popular dish. Babak Arabestani, owner of Bayside Brasserie, Bellini’s and Signor Valentino in Cardiff Bay was named Longest Supporter of Restaurants Against Hunger, whilst Al Duca was honoured as the restaurant that raised the most money during the Restaurants Against Hunger month in October 2007.

Restaurants Against Hunger continues at these and over 550 other restaurants, cafés, bars and gastropubs until the end of October. For a full list of participating eateries in your area, please visit

Action Against Hunger works in 40 of the world’s poorest countries including Burma, Darfur, Chad and Somalia. Its vocation is to save lives, especially those of severely malnourished children, working with vulnerable populations to restore and preserve their livelihoods with dignity. With the current world food crisis looking likely to worsen and 55 million people worldwide already suffering from acute malnutrition, the charity needs support more than ever.

For further information or photography, please contact: Kate Lester or Chris Young at Roche Communications on: 020 7436 1111 or /

Notes to editors:

Critics in the Kitchen: Tom Parker Bowles (The Mail on Sunday), Charles Campion (The Evening Standard), Jay Rayner (The Observer), Matthew Fort (The Guardian), Lucas Hollweg (The Sunday Times), Nick Lander (FT), Tracey MacLeod (The Independent), Bill Knott (Yes Chef!) and Humayun Hussain (The GuardianGuide).

The judging panel: Raymond Blanc OBE (Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons), Shane Osborn (Pied à Terre), Ed Baines (Randall & Aubin) and Oliver Prince (Royal Exchange Grand Café and Bar).

Action Against Hunger would like to thank all sponsors for their generous contribution to the event.

The winning bids in full:

£4,500 Trip to see Action Against Hunger projects at work in Zambia.

£3,500 Five night stay for two in an over-water villa at Six Senses Soneva-Gili, Maldives.

£2,800 Unique plates, hand-decorated by Heston Blumenthal, Gordon Ramsay and Fergus Henderson.

£2,200 Two Michelin Star Extravaganza: Dinner for two at Midsummer House in Cambridge; degustation menu and accompanying wine for two at Pied a Terre; and a night and lunch for two at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons.

£2,000 Hand-signed original etching of “Y Tambien Su Padre” by Salvador Dali.

£1,600 Collection of fine wines.

£1,500 Gastronomic tasting menu for two at Mugaritz, San Sebastian, Spain.

£1,300 Five course degustation menu for six with matched wine, cooked at the winner’s home by Chef Miguel Jessen of Pinxto People.

£1,200 Three night stay for two in the 5* Hotel Atrium in Split.

£800 Cartier Love Bracelet.

£600 Dine your way around the world: Indian master class for two at La Porte des Indes; Thai brunch for two at Blue Elephant; Italian dinner for six at Carluccio’s; and a Mexican meal for four at Wahaca.

£500 A one night stay for two at Sanctum Hotel, Soho, prior to its official opening in March 2009.

£500 Limited edition print of Aeternum Gloriae by Sten & Lex.

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