There are quite a team of us pulling this together;
Mat Follas, Dave Ahern, John Comyn, Grant Hawthorne
and many, many more

Monday 28th February 2011:
"Twitter is an amazing and powerful tool for our times." I've seen statements like this said a number of times but hadn't realised till Monday night how true this can be.

One single tweet from me and approx 300 replies came flooding in within a few minutes.

A short conversation with Dave Ahern aka @corkgourmetguy, a blogger and fellow 'mature' newby chef … went along the lines of (and I'm paraphrasing):
  • D: You doing anything for NZ Earthquake ?
  • M: Running an auction for dinner/overnight, not sure what else to do
  • D: Popup restaurant ?
  • M: Too far from London and not enough time to handle as much as I want to, keep asking if anyone is so I can help out
  • D: I run events for a living (or did), how about it? We could do a 30 cover dinner with our contacts alone
  • M: Why not? I'll ask twitter and see what feedback I get

matkiwi Mat Follas
It's been suggested a popup fundraiser restaurant for nz earthquake ... London ... 4 or 5th April ... thoughts? Volunteers? Location?

What a response ! Literally hundreds of people offered their help immediately and lots more offering services and goodies.

Thank you all so much … I can't say that enough.

So its starting to take shape ...

Kai we care
Kai = Māori for food ... the name is a pun on Kiwi care
Twitter account @KaiWeCare

The website (just starting)

This is now somewhat bigger than envisiged (that's English understatement for you)

We have a whole bunch of seriously good chefs including Michelin starred on board to run a course each. Some you might know and some will be better known to chefs and their local communities. It will be great to get a few TV faces on board but just as fun for us to experience some of the lesser well known but exceptional chefs we have in the UK. For example we will have the lovely Lisa Faulkner (Celeb MasterChef winner) and the less well known Michelin starred Russell Brown from Sienna down here in Dorset. There's a few from Masterchef and The Restaurant on board and a whole bunch of exceptional chefs, more to come.

Harass your favourite chefs to offer to help, its a Monday so most of them will be available ! The best chefs we can get will make this an amazing event and help with the right ticket and auction prices … this is a fundraiser first and foremost, but we all want it to be an evening to be remembered too.

Lots of wine offers, great ! I'm thinking a wine company per course to sponser and a few special bottles for the Auction

Auction prizes: a number of meals, training courses and wines … please keep them coming !

Bloggers and twitters I need your help to sell tickets, We will need to source ingredients free or at cost and lots and lots of publicity so we can maximise ticket sales and auction values. I know you'll help and please bear with us as the above is all the planning we've been able to do so far.

Date: 4 April 2011 - put this in your diary now please ! (as a nice antidote to Mothers day it has been said ...)

Location: London (several sites probable/possible at the moment, looking for size, kitchen and locations, hopefully finalize asap but please do suggest more)

Tickets: £ to be agreed (suggestions?)

Sale method: Ebay or direct from the email account

Numbers: 100 planned

Who's doing what ? In rough terms I'm organising the chefs, Dave the location and auction and John running the twitter and email accounts and day to day … conveniently he has arranged to be unemployed while we're organising the event.

Please retweet/email/blog/copy this letter and let your friends and family know.

More to come soon ... Mat

I don’t have to remind people of the shocking and saddening events that occurred in Christchurch New Zealand on the 22nd of February last.

We all sat stunned as the pictures of the earthquake were broadcast round the world. New Zealand is a proud and prosperous country but in moments its second largest city, Christchurch was devastated. Its iconic cathedral lay in ruins, the proud symbol of the city reduced to rubble. As sad as it was to see, its a building, and buildings can be rebuilt, the lives however that were just as devastated may be far harder to repair.

Last Monday I was chatting on-line to Kiwi chef and Masterchef winner Mat Follas, it was just a general chat about maybe meeting up for a beer later than evening as Mat was going to be in London overnight. Needless to say we began to talk about the earthquake and I said if there was anything he was doing to raise funds then I was more than happy to help. The idea of a supper club was mentioned and we figured that we could do a supper club or pop-up for 20-30 people with Mat doing most of the cooking and me putting my event management background to use organising it. Then we both Tweeted the idea and everything changed beyond recognition.

Within 30minutes the 30 people idea was a distant memory, the numbers increased and the offers of help of all sorts flooded in. From chefs wanting to cook, to producers offering their best products to be used for the menu, to people who were happy simply wash up or wait tables.

I grabbed hold of a friend of mine John Comyn, who has kindly offered to take care of the admin on this, and we met up with Mat in a very late night pub in Borough about half past midnight to try and make sense of it all, the numbers were mind-blowing, the offers of help were humbling and the task facing us was daunting but one thing we agreed on was that we would take this as far as we possibly could and raise as much money as possible. I immediately recruited chef Grant Hawthorne to oversea the technical side of the meal and let us know exactly what was achievable with what time, personnel and produce we had to work with.

There is so much talk of social media these days and how it is changing the world and to be honest it is something I have always had a somewhat sceptical view of but now I see just how true it is.  Twitter has taken this to a place we never even dreamed of. From a 30 person supper this is where we now stand.

200 guests attending a 7 course dinner cooked by a variety of very highly rated chefs, including the likes of
  • DominicChapman, Head Chef at The Royal Oak and Michelin Star holder
  • Mark Poynton, Chef Patron at Restaurant Alimentum, 3AA Rosettes and listed in the UK’s Top 60 Restaurants
  • Russel Brown, Chef Patron at Sienna and Michelin Star Holder
  • Alex Wood, Head Chef at St Stephens Club London
  • Adrian Oliver, Chef Patron of Margot’s Padstow
  • Mathew Tomkinson, Head Chef at The Montagu Arms and Michelin Star Holder
  • Darren Goodwin, Head Chef at Losehill Hotel and Spa

Not only that but

  • Mat Follas and Dhruv Baker winners of the last 2 series of Masterchef will be cooking alongside these guys
  • Just like Steve Groves winner of Masterchef The Professionals and now working alongside Toby Stuart at Roux Parliament Sq.
  • We even have Celebrity Masterchef winner Lisa Faulkner and Master Chef Judges Jon and Gregg on hand to help out on the night.

I can’t even begin to list the prizes that will be auctioned or raffled on the night, full details will be on the website soon but if you have been following us on Twitter @KaiWeCare then you know there are some truly amazing things already offered by so many generous people.

We plan to stream the auction and raffle live as well as make the raffle tickets available to those who won’t be able to make it on the night.

The ticket price will be £150 per person and include wine.

A full menu will be up on the site in the coming days once all the chefs have had a chance to swap ideas and steal the donated ingredients from each others courses!

We will also show the incredible quality of the produce and who so generously donated them.

The auction too is surpassing all expectations and a catalogue of items and those who were wonderful enough to give them to us will be available to view so you can be prepared to get your wallet out on the night. We are hoping to allow people bid via Twitter who are watching the live stream

What I ask now is this, those of you who have blogs will you please reprint this on your sites and put the links there for those who wish to contact us.

Twitter @Kaiwecare hashtag #KaiWeCare



Thank you all for your help and amazing support, it is ye who have changed this and helped make it what it is, Mat, John, Grant and I have merely tried our best to cling on.

There will be far more to follow but for now all I can say is that we are staggered and humbled by the out pouring of generosity


Dave Ahern     (Aka @CorkGourmetGuy on Twitter)