Organised as part of Oliver’s Food Revolution, the CEO CookOff will highlight the issue of food waste and food education. Some of the biggest names in British business, including Fiona Dawson from Mars and Craig Inglis from John Lewis, will help to cook a banquet for hundreds of everyday heroes – people who work in education, healthcare and charities across the country. The business leaders will line up alongside chefs including Angela Hartnett, Brett Graham and Jamie Oliver.
Oliver has long been an advocate for a change in the way children consume and learn about food; this has included campaigning for a sugar tax and healthier school meals. His partnership with UKHarvest will serve to highlight the problems around food waste.
“It’s absolutely brilliant that we can get all these bigwigs together in the same room with the nation’s top chefs, all rolling up their sleeves and cooking some delicious grub for our everyday heroes – to raise money for the bigger issues around food education and waste,” he says.
“That’s what this is all about: bringing together a bunch of hugely influential people for our Food Revolution to show how important food education is. For me, it’s as important as teaching kids maths and English, in terms of their future development. And we want to show how easy it can be for families and businesses to cook with the correct food and without waste. The CEO CookOff will be loads of fun, but the cause at its heart is very serious. I’m always asking people to think big and work together and this just proves that we can do it.”
UKHarvest works to reduce unnecessary food waste by redistributing good surplus food to charities that feed people who need it. The charity’s mission will be reflected in the CookOff which is a zero waste event – any meal that isn’t served will be collected by a UKHarvest’s van and taken to the Robes Project, a charity that offers shelter and food to homeless people in South London. Waste from the dinner will be processed by an anaerobic digester and converted to compost.
“We’re on a mission to ‘Nourish our Nation’ by putting surplus food to good use. We are also a source of food education, equipping people with the knowledge of how to use food responsibly, which is something Jamie has also campaigned for,” says Yvonne Thomson, CEO and founder of UKHarvest. “Partnering with the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation for this event is a fantastic alliance of two organisations with similar interests coming together to maximise their positive impact.”
The CEO CookOff will take place at old Billingsgate Market in London on 21 March. The participating CEOs will be taking part in fundraising initiatives in the run-up to the event with all money going to UKHarvest and food education schemes across the UK, via the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation.