Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to a charity dinner party hosted by continental food brand Unearthed at the acclaimed Fernandez & Leluu Supper Club. The dinner was to support Action Against Hunger’s new campaign: ‘Fight hunger, Eat in’. Inspired by the trend for pop-up restaurants, just like Fernandez & Leluu’s, this campaign is a fun way for food lovers to engage their friends and raise awareness (and much-needed cash) for Action Against Hunger.
The idea is to invite your friends round for a dinner party, then simply serve up a delicious menu to your guests on the pretence that they cough up their dinner money at the end of the night. You can either have a “suggested donation” amount as supper clubs often do, or you can leave it to the discretion of your friends (as long as you’re confident that they’re not a stingy bunch!).
As the launch of this new initiative, I was invited along with a whole host of bloggers (The London Foodie, Kavey Eats, Ooh Food, Rachel McGormack, Hungry In London, Greedy Diva, Vintage Macaroon, The Grubworm, Eat Noodles- Love Noodles,Fin & Flounder, A Pinch Of Salt, Gastrogeek, The Gourmet Traveller, Mathilde’s Cuisine, One Million Gold Stars and Gin & Crumpets) to witness Fernandez & Leluu (below, middle) kick it all off with a bang.
After a well-lubricated welcome (apart from for me, obviously), we were ushered to our tables to begin the meal. Before the seemingly never-ending food started rolling out, however, our hosts each gave a few words before the gathered became a little too familiar with the bottom of their glasses. Simon Day (above, right) first introduced us to the Unearthed brand, which has flourished and grown since he started it in 2008, so much so that they are now in a position to become the first National Brand Ambassadors of Action Against Hunger’s ‘Fight hunger, Eat in’ campaign. Unearthed will be donating 1 penny from the sale of each of its products to Action Against Hunger.
Next the representative from Action Against Hunger, Sophie (above, left) gave us a little more information about their work (and where money raised by the campaign and Unearthed will be spent). Much of the money will go towards setting up a new project in Zambia to support grandparent-headed households, where there is a growing and problematic phenomenon of older people left to care for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. This is an issue that I feel very close to. As some of you might know, my parents have just come back from spending almost 5 years in Uganda setting up a project called Cherish Uganda. Similarly to the AAH project in Zambia, Cherish Uganda was started to provide a life-line to orphans, whose parents died of AIDS and who are suffering with HIV/AIDS themselves. I won’t give you all the information here, but I encourage you to check out their website. It’s pretty amazing stuff.
Now we had been armed with all the information, our meal started in earnest. And boy, did we EAT! We got:
A beautiful platter of appetisers, featuring potato omelette, duck mousse, oyster mushrooms, pork rillettes and garlic bread.
Sweetcorn veloute with chorizo foam.
Pork flamenquines (rolled pork loin, pepperoni and ham which has been breaded and fried).
Pork meatballs with chipotle sauce, figs and white wine served with a Russian salad.
Serrano ham, lambs lettuce & watercress salad, served with absolutely stunning pears poached in vanilla & champagne (with the champagne poaching liqueur acting as a salad dressing). My star of the night!
At this point Cinderella heard the clock striking and had to dash or her carriage would turn back into a pumpkin (aka I had to get the train to my sister’s flat or it would be a sad midnight train back to Brighton for me). This meant I missed the final couple of courses (yes, there was more!!). However, I heard tell of baked rice with Catalan sausages and churros with Green & Blacks dark chocolate, both of which were hailed as the dishes of the night. Gutted.
All in all it was a fantastic evening in aid of a wholly worthy cause. I already liked Unearthed products (their cooking chorizo sausages I love – see my Chicken & Chorizo stew), but I’m now thoroughly impressed with their ethics and philanthropy too. Good on them for giving back. As for Action Against Hunger’s ‘Fight hunger, Eat in’ campaign – this is a fun way to get involved with something really worthwhile. If you love cooking and often give dinner parties anyway (or even if you don’t), get your mates round for a slap-up meal with a price tag. You’ll have a fantastic guilt-free night, knowing that your hangover the next day will be slightly soothed by the knowledge that you’ve contributed something to the hungry and destitute.
And even if you don’t feel up to hosting a dinner party, don’t despair: you can still donate anyway!
Thanks to Simon and Uyen, Unearthed and Action Against Hunger for a wonderful evening.