Chefs seek community support to provide meals for NHS staff

CHEFS on furlough from their jobs have set up an operation to provide free meals to St Peter’s Hospital staff at the end of their shifts.

They are appealing for donations – more than £4,000 a week – to help them to cook and deliver 300 nutritious meals a day to NHS workers.

Ben Taylor (front) with fellow volunteer chefs David Horn (left) and Jon Dawson

The initiative has been set up by Ben Taylor from Camberley, whose volunteer team has taken over the kitchen at the temporarily closed Chobham Adventure Farm.

Ben has recruited Jon Dawson and David Horn, who usually work at the Carter and Miller restaurant in Bagshot, and Chobham caterer Amanda Jane Beavis to join his quest.

“We intend to supply NHS staff at St Peter’s with free meals to reheat and enjoy in the comfort of their own homes after they finish work,” said Ben, who works in development for a major food manufacturer.

“I came up with the idea after seeing the community really coming together in support of the NHS and thought about what I could do to help.”

He is aiming to make two deliveries a day to St Peter’s, one in the morning and one in the evening, to begin with and to expand the operation to include Frimley Park Hospital if enough money can be raised.

Ben has 20 years of experience of cooking in restaurants and working for prestigious caterers and has prepared food for functions attended by The Queen.

“To make the meals operation happen, we really do need the support of the community,” he said. “We have a target of raising £16,000 so that we can do it for at least three weeks. We can’t do this without community support.”

He has been helped in setting up the intitiative by local borough councillor Victoria Wheeler, who is one of the organisers of the Chobham Care volunteers. The meals will be delivered by members of that group.

Chobham Adventure Farm owner Bean Chapman has given over the kitchen to Ben and his chefs.

To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com and search for “feedingstpeters”. Ben has a deadline of Monday 18 May to get the operation up and running. He stresses that all donations will be returned if the fundraising target is not met.

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