So here’s to a belated blog post in tribute to what was a fantastic event to celebrate our 2nd birthday, now that essays and dissertations due for the end of term are in and the soldiers have left the field for the Easter holidays, we can take some time to reflect on a busy term and catch up on some of the great stuff that went on.
The Carnival Chef Takeover saw a feast of 120 guests served a three course meal at their tables by a team of uniformed waiting volunteers, prepared to the highest level by ethical food ambassador and acclaimed chef Arthur Potts-Dawson.
Its been a long while since Arthur first came onto our radar for his group of eco-championing restaurants and his inspirational People’s Supermarket venture (watch the Channel 4 series here), and having spoken alongside FoodCycle founder Kelvin Cheung at the Bristol Social Enterprise Conference in November, we were hugely excited and honoured when he agreed to come and lead our team of cooking volunteers for this event.
And boy did he deliver! Marshelling the kitchen like FoodCycle Bristol had never quite experienced before, Arthur rustled up three courses of gourmet fare under some serious time pressure for an outrageous number of diners, and the end product? Well, it wouldn’t have looked out of place in your favourite top draw eatery!
The menu went a little something like this.
To Start: Cream of Avocado Soup with a Paprika Garnish, served with Garlic and Anchovy Butter on Granary Baguettes.
The meal was accompanied by a full program of entertainment with appropriately samba Braslian music over the loud speakers to fill in the gaps…
Following an introduction to the evening by FoodCycle Bristol managers Amy Hale and El Von-Benzon and Bristol Hub Coordinator Jonny Levin, the head chef came forward to give some personal background to his ideas about food, food waste and the work that FoodCycle does, as well as announcing the menu he had lined up for us.
A powerful and intriguing interval of poetic reflections from rising start Martin Powell followed the starters.
Then was the beginning of the battle of the ethical societies.
Each participating group had just 5 minutes to present the work they do and to convince the audience of its value and urgency, with only one condition: NO POWERPOINT!
Each guest was given a raffle ticket on entrance to the hall worth £1. This raffle ticket bought them in with a chance to win one of 3 grand prizes, but also acted as their ballot paper with which they would vote for their favourite society at the end of the event.
The societies taking part would then be given the amount of money proportionate to the number of £1 votes that they received, so there was certainly motivation to impress!
In addition, anybody could purchase extra raffle tickets to cast more votes for societies and increase their chances of winning the prizes.
The grand prizes were:
1. Two Cinema tickets to see a film of your choice at the Watershed Cinema.
2. Lunch for 2 followed by a boat cruise down the river Avon.
3. An evening’s free use of the Arts House Cafe basement for a group of 20 friends to screen a film of your choice.
First up to present just before the main course was served was Lighthouse, a University of Bristol student society working to raise awareness and action around homelessness and marginalization in Bristol. Amid a no-show from the would-be star of Lighthouse’s presentation, the legend of the Bristol triangle, Rasta Jeff – the big issue hero, Gemma-Josaine stepped up and gave a brilliant insight into the work that they do.
Next after the mains were BVDA (Bristol Volunteers for Development Abroad) who gave a rip-roaring rendition of the Village People’s YMCA, substituting the original lyrics for verses about their student volunteer work in development overseas! The original VP lineup weren’t a patch on these guys.
Then came the true latin flavour of the whole night with Bristol Capoeira rolling out an incredible display of traditional Capoeira dance, with the whole assembly gathering around at the front of the room to watch.
Then came desert and following that, to round of the evening we had Amnesty International who, having spent the evening with their arms tied down to their sides, focused the lens of their presentation on the Arms trade, top marks going to them for creative imagination and an instantly engaging dramatic interpretation on the theme!
The results from the societies’ battle were:
1st place, Amnesty – 43 votes
In 2nd, BVDA – 40 votes
And 3rd, Lighthouse – 23 votes
With all the money for the remaining votes that weren’t cast being shared out equally between the three groups!
All in all, what a brilliant event this was, with everyone going home satisfied with a full stomach and buzzing mind at the end of it. Top flight food, plenty of good vibrations and lots of great ideas.
Thank you to everyone that took part and who came a long. And we can’t wait to do something similar again soon!
For more photos from the event, make sure you’ve added ‘FoodCycle Bristol’ as a friend on Facebook then have a look through the album here: