Top county head chefs raise over £2500 for Shropshire charity

Head chefs from across Shropshire joined forces to cook a special seven course meal at a Shrewsbury restaurant and raised more than £2500 for Headway Shropshire.

The chefs Michel Nijsten from the Albright Hussey Manor Hotel, Gennaro Adaggio from La Dolce Vita, Josh Donachie and James Sherwin from Henry Tudor House (all Shrewsbury-based), Karl Martin from Old Downton Lodge, Andrew Birch from Fishmore Hall (both Ludlow) and Shrewsbury College Chef teacher Dan Gibbons all cooked a course each for the 50 guests. Master Baker Rob Swift from Swifts Bakery in Ludlow, who spearheaded the event, prepared all the complimentary breads and canapés.

The event came about after Mr Swift, who had been working with Headway Shropshire, which provides care, support and rehabilitation to people with acquired brain injuries within Shropshire, Telford, Wrekin and the surrounding areas, decided he wanted to do something to support the charity.

He said: “This charity is completely dependent on raising funds themselves to get through each year and it’s all down to the hard work of a few people working really hard for not a lot, so I wanted to do something to help. I am delighted my chef friends from around the county agreed to give their time, for free, to cook this special dinner and that the money raised is going towards the end goal – to produce a community recipe book which can be published to raise funds for the charity on an ongoing basis.

“I also wanted to get more involved with the College and give the students the opportunity to work alongside some top professionals and I am pleased this event has given them that invaluable experience.”

Chef Teacher Dan Gibbons hand-picked a ‘culinary team’ of students to shadow each chef, but all the students were involved in the preparation and delivery of the event.

Chris Taylor, Level 3 Catering student, 18 from Telford said: “It’s a privilege to work with some of the best chefs in Shropshire and to learn so many new techniques and way of doing things. They were all really helpful and it’s a great honour for me. The opportunity has really helped me on the course.”

Dan said: “This has been an amazing experience for our students. It’s so important that our students get industry experience which they do here at Origins restaurant and through opportunities like this. I wish I had been one of the 50 guests who have helped raise this fantastic amount - as the food coming out of our kitchen was outstanding!”

Following the event, each chef will be returning to the College to run masterclasses with the students, including a bakery masterclass, experimental/artistic cooking workshops, and foraging on a county estate.

Shropshire-based Middle Farm Press will now be working on a book that includes recipes that the chefs are devising. It will be a user-friendly, well-designed and high-quality book and also recipes from Shrewsbury College students and the community as a whole. People can submit their ‘five-ingredients-only’ starter, main and dessert recipes to by 23 October. The college students will then prepare each dish to be photographed by local photographer Richard Hammerton to appear in the book.

Kate Taylor, Director of Middle Farm Press, said: “All of the money from the charity meal is going towards creation of the book, which will in turn raise funds for Headway Shropshire on a hopefully ongoing basis through the year and in years to come. Once the book has been put together, and because it will be timeless, it can be reprinted again and again and become a permanent income for the charity.”

Lizzie Evans, Fundraising & Publicity Officer at Headway Shropshire said: “This project really is something far more amazing than a donation. The creation of the recipe book means we are creating something that we can use indefinitely, which is a true gift to a charity like ours. It’s something we can market to generate income and an achievement that a local charity could only usually dream of.”

For more information about Headway Shropshire, visit

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