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Masterchef winner and former Sat Bains chef Laurence Henry is Catering Education for the Children's Virtual Ball

9 November 20 interview: Eve Smallman

With in-person fundraising events being off-limits at the moment, West Bridgford-based charity Education for the Children have adapted their annual ball to be a virtual affair over Zoom, with a three-course meal cooked by Masterchef winner and former Sat Bains chef Laurence Henry. We caught up with the man himself to find out all about it...

How have the lockdowns been for you?
The first lockdown was a lot more eventful to say. My siblings and I lost our job so we started a little business just to pass the time called The Quarantine Kitchen, where we delivered things fresh produce and their homemade meals for people that couldn’t get to the shops. This second lockdown I’m taking a lazier approach and just biding my time until I can start cooking again.

Tell me about how you got involved with the Education for the Children Virtual Ball…
We just got chatting over Instagram! I'm really happy to help out providing food for it, as never really clicked to me how charities have been affected by COVID. Obviously, everyone's affected by it, especially in the hospitality industry, but charities rely heavily on fundraising balls and auctions. 

Through Instagram, I learned a little bit more about the charity, such as it being founded in Nottingham, and their School of Hope in Guatemala was founded by Nottingham people as well. There they not only help with education, but they also help with nutrition by providing healthy school meals and snacks too, as many children in Guatemala suffer from malnutrition.

What can people expect from the event?
Everyone's going be connected via Zoom, so there will be that unique atmosphere you might expect from a ball. There will be speakers as well as a video link to the school in Guatemala, so everyone can have a toast together. 

What can people expect in terms of food?
It’s a three-course fine dining style menu costing £40 per person, with a vegetarian option also. They’re seasonal dishes that I really like – for starters there’s a ham hock and chicken terrine with seasonal mushrooms and bitter leaf and for mains, there is pork belly with squash. Squash is one of my favourite ingredients this time of year, so it’s nice to be able to showcase what’s available throughout the season.

Have there been any differences in planning this compared to a normal menu?
I’ve thought a lot about how people can reheat it home, which is something we did with The Quarantine Kitchen during the first lockdown. We’ve practised the logistics of everything with packaging it and delivering it, and I’ve made sure it’ll be as delicious for people when receiving it as when I make it. It’s different to a restaurant where everything is freshly produced to be eaten straight away.

What are you most excited about?
The opportunity to raise some money for the fantastic cause and hopefully help Education for the Children to come out the other side as a thriving charity.

The Education For the Children Virtual Ball with Laurence Henry takes place on Thursday 12 November.

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