Suffolk chefs raise more than £20,000 for Ukraine

chefs and students who cooked and served 100 guests, raising £20,000 for the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

The chefs and students who cooked and served 100 guests, raising £20,000 for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. - Credit: Richard Allenby-Pratt

Hosted by Suffolk New College, supported by the compassion and generosity of the county's people and food suppliers

Two Suffolk chefs, Maria Elia and Nicola Hordern, have raised more than £20,000 for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, at a sell-out dinner at Suffolk New College, Ipswich.

Maria and Nicola worked with Suffolk-based journalists Tessa Allingham and Linda Duffin, director of service industries at Suffolk New College Mike Mulvihill, and events manager Aimee Jay, to organise the event in just two weeks.

The chefs led a brigade of students under chef-lecturer Dan Russell-Poole, and a line-up of Suffolk professionals, to cook for 100 guests at Chefs’ Whites restaurant at the Suffolk Centre for Culinary Arts. Among the guests was Elizabeth Hughes, mayor of Ipswich, who spoke movingly about the Ukrainian community in the town.

 Chef Maria Elia, one of the organisers of the event.

Chef Maria Elia, one of the organisers of the event. - Credit: Richard Allenby-Pratt

Chef Nicola Horden

Chef Nicola Horden, one of the event organisers. - Credit: Richard Allenby-Pratt

The professional chefs were Nick Claxton Webb (executive chef, Adnams), Alan Paton (executive chef, Stoke by Nayland hotel), Harvey Thompson (sous chef, Tuddenham Mill), Nick Claxton Webb (executive chef, Adnams), private chef Mike Keen, Grant Newland (chef patron The Kings Arms, Haughley) and Sam Sturman (chef patron The Brewers, Rattlesden). A student front of house team led by Zoe McKechnie was supported by Yann Aubourg (restaurant manager, The Swan, Southwold).

Ingredients and drinks were donated for a four-course feast that celebrated Ukraine, its people and its food. The menu included pampushky garlic bread made by Pump St Bakery, zeleniy borsch, slow-roast Dingley Dell pork with sauerkraut, and St Jude curd, polenta and walnut cake with bay leaf ice cream. Local businesses and individuals donated generously to a raffle and auction, run by Lacy Scott auctioneer Ed Crichton, in which the star prize – a week in Tuscany – raised £4,000.

Linda Duffin and the Mayor of Ipswich Elizabeth Hughes

Linda Duffin and the Mayor of Ipswich Elizabeth Hughes - Credit: Richard Allenby-Pratt

Chefs and students working to get the food to 100 diners.

Chefs and students working to get the food to 100 diners. - Credit: Richard Allenby-Pratt

Suffolk New College students played a big role in the success of the evening.

Suffolk New College students played a big role in the success of the evening. - Credit: Richard Allenby-Pratt

Every penny raised from ticket sales, raffle and auction, will go to the DEC. “To raise over £20,000 for the DEC appeal is more than we ever thought possible," said Maria. "It’s thanks to the generosity of so many people, and the power of teamwork that it was possible.”

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Nicola said they had been overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone involved in the evening. "A huge thank you to our suppliers who between them donated all of the ingredients for our menu, our brilliant brigade of chefs from across the county, and especially to the hardworking students and staff at Suffolk New College. We couldn’t have achieved this without them.”

 zeleniy borsch with wild garlic, nettles and sorrel foraged by Jess Noy

The food - zeleniy borsch with wild garlic, nettles and sorrel foraged by Jess Noy. - Credit: Richard Allenby-Pratt

Slow roast Dingley Dell pork ready to be sliced for the main

Slow roast Dingley Dell pork ready to be sliced for the main course. - Credit: Richard Allenby-Pratt

Suffolk New College students at work.

Suffolk New College students at work preparing food for the event. - Credit: Richard Allenby-Pratt

Chefs Mike Keen and Grant Newland (Kings Arms, Haughley)

Chefs Mike Keen and Grant Newland (Kings Arms, Haughley). - Credit: Richard Allenby-Pratt

Nick Claxton Webb, Alan Paton, Nicola Hordern and Maria Elia

A lighter moment...Nick Claxton Webb, Alan Paton, Nicola Hordern and Maria Elia - Credit: Richard Allenby-Pratt

Linda said it showed how compassionate and generous the people of Suffolk are. "I’ve never been so proud to live here. The money we’ve raised will help to save lives and alleviate suffering for the victims of this cruel and needless war. Thank you, everyone.” Tessa said: “I’m so proud that we hosted this event just two weeks after the idea was first mooted – and to have raised £20,000 is beyond our wildest dreams.”