Caterers and chefs cook up meals for the vulnerable during coronavirus pandemic

Chefs, caterers and pubs are cooking and delivering meals for people who are struggling to get food as they isolate during the coronavirus pandemic.

From big brands to start-ups with just one employee, businesses across the country are stepping up to make sure people are not left hungry during the crisis.

Ayesha Pakravan-Ovey, who set up her catering business The Plattery six months ago, is cooking and delivering up to 20 meals a day for people stuck indoors, mainly in south west London.

While based in Battersea, she has also visited an elderly grandmother in Slough, Berkshire, and travelled to North Finchley to a man who had not eaten a hot meal in two weeks.

She used 10% of her profits in February and money from her own pocket to start the process, while a GoFundMe page set up on Sunday has seen more than £3,000 donated from people as far away as America.

She told the PA news agency: “Knowing that people were hungry was just not something I was OK with.

“I’ve had a lot of children and grandchildren contacting me on behalf of their elderly relatives, a few NHS care workers contacted me.

“There was food for a guy in Wimbledon yesterday who hadn’t eaten in four days, and his care worker called me in a real state because she couldn’t find any food and asked me if I could help.”

She is giving people at least six meals so they will have a supply throughout the week.

The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the crisis, with pubs, cafes and restaurants forced to close to the public amid the pandemic.

International chef Simon Rogan and his team are cooking up free meals from his Lake District farm for the elderly and isolated.

Both of his restaurants in the village of Cartmel have closed as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak but he is continuing to pay staff, half of whom are helping on the farm and with the meals.

They are using surplus ingredients to produce a range of freezer-ready dishes and working with the local vicar to identify those most vulnerable.

The dishes will cost £5 for local delivery to the wider community in Cartmel to cover the cost of ingredients and allow the team to continue donating meals.

They hope to send out free salad and veg boxes for those who need them in the coming weeks.

Mr Rogan, whose restaurants hold five Michelin stars, told PA: “We owe everything to the area that we are in and want to give a little bit back to the community, and hopefully we can all get through it together.”

Tim Foster, co-founder of The Yummy Pub Co, which runs four pubs in and around London, said the business plans to deliver meals for vulnerable elderly people.

Customers are being asked to donate £10, eight of which will go to the meals, and two to the Only A Pavement Away charity that supports the homeless to find work in the hospitality industry.

More than £600 has been raised since Monday and the company is speaking with AgeUK about how to use its community contacts to distribute food.

“We are going to use the money to try and make as many meals as we can and do something quite simple and comforting,” Mr Foster said. “We can do something really positive I think.”

Yummy’s Wiremill Inn in Surrey has also been transformed into a non-contact click-and-collect grocery shop.

Mr Foster said it meant “everything” to help people, adding “pubs are designed to be part of our community”.

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