Chefs for Heroes, a team of five-star London hotel chefs led by the Lanesborough’s Paul Gayler, raised £100,000 for the Help for Heroes charity at a dinner at the Guildhall on Friday night.
The dinner was the brainchild of Gayler after his son, Lee, was shot in Afghanistan in April 2007 and had to undergo two forms of surgery at Camp Bastion before recuperating at Selly Oak Hospital Birmingham and being rehabilitated at Headley Court in Surrey. A bullet through Lee’s groin had severed his femoral vein, missing his femoral artery by just 1mm, and he had fractured his pelvis and damaged several other veins in his leg.
“We will be forever grateful for the care our son received both here and abroad,” said Gayler. “The situation in Afghanistan is still dreadful with casualties reported almost daily and many families losing loved ones. As a result, hospitals such as Headley Court are dealing with increasing numbers of injured servicemen returning home and are trying to cope with outdated facilities.
“Help for Heroes is a charity that raises vital funding for the services and facilities which support our returning wounded. It has supported Headley Court by the provision of a new rehab pool plus upgrading other facilities needed for the support of our soldiers – which is why they have been chosen to benefit from this chefs’ event.”
The five-course meal - cooked by Gayler, Matthew Marshall, the executive chef of Chamberlains, Andrew Bennett and Sarah Hartnett of the Sheraton Park Lane, Simon Young of the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Paul Bates of the InterContinental Hotel, Martyn Nail of Claridge’s, Gary Klaner of the Landmark, John Retallick of the Craft Guild of Chefs, Matthew Locker of the Bank in Leigh-on-Sea and Clive Howe of the Garrick Club - comprised terrine of smoked maize-fed chicken and wild mushrooms; baked Orkney scallop with leeks, ginger and coriander; roasted fillet of Scotch beef, oxtail Boulanger, sauce hermitage; iced soufflé ‘eau de vie dantzig’, warm Mirabelle compote; and farmhouse cheeses.
Front of house, tables were hosted by several celebrity chefs and stars of the small screen including Ainsley Harriott, Gregg Wallace from Masterchef, Allegra McEvedy and Paul Merrett of Economy Gastronomy and Simon Rimmer of Something for the Weekend, Brian Turner, Anton Mosimann, Bruce Poole, John Williams and Cyrus Todiwala.
By Amanda Afiya
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