At a recent HBAA Annual Forum Wyboston Lakes won a Cook and Dine experience at The Brigade as part of the charity Auction.

All monies go to the Beyond Food Foundation and Brigade, so that felt good.  It was decided that this would be the SMT’s day out together.  We don’t get to spend much social time together and when we do usually it’s over copious amounts of wine; so the idea of spending the day in the kitchen with my Managing Director or Ops Director was quite amusing to me. 

Cook and Dine 

We arrived, all 10 of us and were taken up to the upstairs open kitchen with dining room.  We did our introductions and were then acquainted with the team from Brigade.  Having worked with the charity on behalf of the HBAA for the past 2 years, I know full well of the amazing work they do. Simon Boyle is an inspiration and is one in a million.  But my colleagues knew less.  I watched their faces as they listened and were introduced to Grant and Leon the training chefs for the day. 

Meeting the apprentices 

Grant was one of the cohort 12 apprentices. He was forced to move into a hostel after he experienced financial difficulty and marital breakdown. He joined the apprenticeship to give himself a new start and direction.  Leon is Beyond Food’s Chef Trainer. He started his career as an apprentice himself at the Hoxton Apprentice. Supporting the apprentices as they overcome personal barriers and help them back into full-time employment.   Both Leon and Grant reinforce the fabric of what they do at Brigade, by helping new apprentices and raising money with events such as ours.

Time to get stuck in 

So we split into groups and each took a course.  Wow it was fun!  Watching my Chairman fillet fish, my Property Director get annoyed with the coulis and my Managing Director struggle with the kneading of bread.  However, the food was delicious and we sat down together and feasted on a great banquet. This is when we met Tracey.  Tracey is 29 years old, she experienced a difficult relationship breakdown and was left looking after her daughter alone. Tracey came to Beyond Food after being referred by a single parent and troubled families support worker. Here she started to rebuild her life on the Freshlife course and then moved to the Out Front course which is a 4-week trainee-ship and she has been employed by Brigade since October 2017. Tracey also had health challenges of her own to overcome and her story told by herself moved us all.

Beyond Food

This was the moment when we were all so very grateful for the opportunity to be part of something that gives back so much in such a positive way, that helps the young and vulnerable find their way, that lifts those fallen on hard times, that puts its arms around the lonely and afraid and helps them find meaningful employment and joy in their lives, through the catalyst of food and creativity.  This industry that we love, hospitality, has given hope to those that Simon and his team have been able to help.

Simon really is extraordinary; he works tirelessly to better the lives of our young homeless people.  Giving them respect, hope, skills, job security, and a future.  Through his charity Beyond Food and the Brigade Restaurant, he works with the most vulnerable of individuals. Many have challenges way beyond homelessness.  But with our support, he can help break that cycle and have a lasting positive impact on the lives of those he helps.

The Wyboston Lakes team will be back next year to Cook & Dine once more and we can’t wait!

To donate to Brigade simply click here

Cook and Dine