Called Curry Club, the project has been launched in response to the contrast in lockdown experiences between people living on food parcels and those enjoying high-quality produce and restaurant deliveries, say its founders Matthew Doran, Lizzie Parle and Eleni Thoma.
London chefs and restaurant involved in Curry Club include Meera Sodha, Anna Jones, Alex Jackson, Stevie Parle, Four Legs, Rita’s, Anna Tobias, Little Baobab and Avinash Shashidhara, who have donated their time to cook for people with food insecurity. The entire project is run by volunteers and is not-for-profit.
Curry Club is looking to hit its stretch target of £15,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder to help it provide meals for up to 150 people in Islington per week for around three months in stage one of the project, which will run from February to May.
Following that, in stage two the idea is to keep providing meals for those in need with plans for outdoor community meals with set tables, bookings and every other part of the restaurant experience that would usually be out of reach for a lot of people.
The restaurant will enable local residents to meet people with shared experiences; create opportunities for peer support; encourage social inclusion; build communities; and tackle health inequalities, say the founders.
"Like so many chefs, we share a great love and respect for curry, and a desire to always be cooking it for people who want to eat it. We want to use the concept of ‘curry’ in the broadest sense, encompassing all its vibrant and comforting forms, from India and South East Asia to the Caribbean and Britain. The project will celebrate the different cultural backgrounds of the people cooking and receiving these meals, whilst also meeting a growing demand for nutritious community meals," it says on its Crowdfunder page.
The project has been created due to what its founders say is a lack of care services operating at the moment, with meals sent to vulnerable people who are shielding and not able to cook. It has teamed up with local initiative Nourished Communities, which sources produce from farms near London, to create a reciprocal support system with farmers who have been hit by the pandemic.