Donate A Plate

A Community project Calais, France

Raising £2500 to Cook for 2000 refugees in Calais this Winter, because there's a dire need for healthy, hot food in the camps there

In Calais there are more than 5000 refugees stuck in makeshift camps, with nothing but the clothes on their backs and the few items that have so far been distributed by volunteers. The tents are unsuitable for living in, especially in the cold and wet - and there is a lack of food, especially nutritious, healthy, fresh produce. People are cold, damp and hungry and the lack of food is causing further unrest and conflict within the camps as people's needs drive them to desperation.

Earlier in the year I was invited to Calais to cook for 400 refugees by Norman, Harriet, Azrat, Chloe, Bilal and Faisal - all of whom are still helping refugees in Calais. I got the call late at night that they didn't have a chef so spent the next 24 hours sourcing produce, before driving to Calais to cook on an open fire. The meal consisted of simple beans, couscous and bread. The reception we received was amazing and I was so moved by the resilience and determination of these people who had nothing. I decided then that I had to go back, but do this on a much larger scale

We will travel once we have the funds to do so - the money will become food and warmth for refugees this Winter. Every penny will go towards feeding 2000 people and providing clean water and warm blankets to the most needy. We don't need to provide our own cooking appliances as we'll be cooking in the new camp kitchen that has been separately funded and constructed specifically for this kind of purpose.

An apprentice of Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant programme, I didn't have a great start in life, but was rescued by food. I know how powerful food and cooking can be, so want to share my skills and passion with those most in need. I want to inspire hope with healthy food.