Northamptonshire’s Chef of the Year is cooking 250 meals a day to help feed NHS staff fighting on the frontline of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Danny Tompkins, who won the accolade at last year’s Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards, has teamed up with Food4Heroes to provide meals for healthcare professionals battling the global pandemic at Northampton General Hospital.
Currently working as Earl and Countess Spencer’s personal chef, Danny has been given permission to use the Althorp kitchens to prepare the food, with a rolling menu featuring home comforts such as Shepherd’s Pie and Chilli con Carne, plus a daily vegetarian option.
He said: “These are unprecedented times and we are all having to muck in and do our bit to fight this thing together. The NHS staff bearing the brunt of this awful virus are absolute heroes and if I can provide them with a hot meal to save them one more task at the end of their shift every day then it’s a job well done.”
Earl Spencer added: “Frankly the least we could do, in support of Danny and Food4Heroes, is to give them the kitchens at Althorp for their fantastic work. Danny and his team have been working unbelievably hard – all credit to them, and to the exceptionally brave and dedicated people they are helping to feed.”
Food4Heroes, a not-for-profit organisation, has so far raised more than £200,000 in under a month and has already provided 17,500 meals to NHS staff across the country.
Lucy Gow, Midlands area co-ordinator, said: “Food4Heroes was only set up on March 24 when its founders came across a nurse in floods of tears at the end of a long shift. She was utterly exhausted and unable to buy any food.
“Talking to hospitals has been an incredibly humbling experience. Frontline staff are under such pressure, they are working so hard and they’re shattered, yet they’re still giving their all. Providing them with a tasty, nutritious meal is the very least any of us can do.
“Getting Danny on board to help the effort in Northampton is a huge boost and we are so grateful for his support.”
Food4Heroes has received weekly donations of fresh fruit and vegetables from Saywards of Whilton while Kall Kwik in Northampton has printed food labels for all the dishes.
Other businesses in the food and drink sector have been urged to get on board and help out with supplying ingredients or donating their time or services.
Lee Haines, of Route 1 Express Couriers, who is delivering the food each day to doctors, nurses and health workers at Northampton General Hospital, said: “We all want to show our support for the NHS at this time of emergency. When I was approached to see if we could help with Food4Heroes, it was a no-brainer to say, yes, of course, when do we start? I would urge people to give generously to pay for the costs of the meals for as long as they are needed.”
Donations can be made through the Food4Heroes Crowdfunder website https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/food4heroes-midlands-oxfordshire or via Northamptonshire Community Foundation, where 50 per cent match-funding has been agreed.
You can stay up to date with the campaign on Instagram by following @food4heroes1.