Last Tuesday the first-ever UK CEO CookOff saw sixty CEOs and business leaders swap their suits for aprons and take to the kitchen alongside thirty high-profile chefs, including our very own Cam Matthews, the only chef to be invited from Australia. Together they cooked a three course banquet for 600 everyday heroes who have dedicated their lives to supporting others.
The event was jointly hosted by the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and new charity UKHarvest, which prevents unnecessary food waste by distributing surplus food to vulnerable people in the community. The evening was full of fun and celebration, but was rooted in a serious cause: to fundraise for vital food waste reduction initiatives and food education schemes.
The UK CEO CookOff was opened in style by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, who is Patron of UKHarvest. Her Royal Highness showed off her culinary prowess by helping prepare the starters in both Jamie Oliver’s and Angela Hartnett’s kitchens.
Among the renowned chefs joining Cam were Angela Hartnett (Murano), Mark Hix (Hix Restaurants), Bill Granger (Bills), Atul Kochhar (Benares) and Gennaro Contaldo (Jamie’s Italian).
Thirty fully-functioning kitchens were installed especially for the evening, with Cam running his own kitchen – transforming Old Billingsgate into thirty small restaurants.
Speaking at the CEO CookOff, Jamie Oliver said:
“We’ve achieved two fantastic things tonight at the CEO CookOff – we’ve secured over half a million pounds to provide better food education in hundreds of schools across the UK, as well as feed hundreds of families in need, while reducing food waste. This amazing event is living proof that when big business, the food industry and everyday people put their minds together, amazing things happen.”
Ronni Kahn, founder of OzHarvest, added:
“The CEO CookOff is a model that works – it’s all about getting a group of highly influential, motivated business leaders together with dedicated chefs and everyday heroes who are a shining example of good in the world to raise money for causes that really matter – food waste and food education. Our purpose is to nourish this country – we do this by rescuing good food and making sure it doesn’t go to landfill.”
The UK CEO CookOff aligns with Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and Cam’s strong passion for sustainable practice.
Cam is dedicated to research, development and implementation of sustainable and environmental practices within the Spicers restaurants and properties. In November 2016, Cam was awarded a Churchill Fellowship which affords him the opportunity to study ‘sustainability best-practice’ at a selection of ‘The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ and other innovative organizations who are leading the way in ‘zero waste’.
Cam supports many children’s charities and OzHarvest which is very dear to his heart. Not only does he lead by example within his kitchens, Cam acknowledges that increasing awareness throughout the industry and community is essential.