Monday, 29 June 2015

Curry For Change 2015

Summer is here and it is time for the 4th annual "Curry For Change" fundraising campaign. The campaign is run by the small independent charity Find Your Feet. Curry For Change has a simple aim; to get the great British public to come together and enjoy one of our national obsessions, curry, whilst raising money at the same time. 

This is the third year I have supported this campaign. But just in case you are sceptical about helping yet another charitable cause, why listen to me, when far more illustrious people sponsor the campaign?
Atul Kochhar is the twice Michelin star awarded chef and creative mind behind the innovative fusion restaurant Benares, in London's Mayfair. He was our host for the campaign launch. He spoke passionately and eloquently about his addiction for the campaign, after seeing the positive and life-changing benefits to people in India and Nepal. 

“I grew up in India and have seen poverty closely and know the difference a campaign like Curry for Change can make.  I’m addicted to this charity; it’s doing amazing work.  What is different is that they don’t just simply give money; they invest in the community so people learn the skills they need for a life without hunger.  I’ve seen first-hand their passion and commitment to their work and the impact they have on the lives of poor people.  Raising £50,000 would be excellent – but I say let’s aim high and raise as much as we possibly can!”
The busy kitchen at Benares
Don't worry, you don't have to raise £50,000 by yourself! Either get together with some friends, go out to eat in one of the supporting restaurants, and they will make a donation to Curry For Change on your behalf. Or, if you're a keen cook, why not host a Curry Night? Cook something spicy and fun (I will provide a recipe link below) and get your guests to make a small donation. Any amount you can manage will be appreciated. But on top of that, Natco will match all donations, so you'll be giving double the benefit to Find Your Feet. If you are unfamiliar with Natco, they are a well known brand in the Indian community who sell great spice products for Indian cooking; my family have been using their products for years.

Atul Kochhar in the Benares kitchen
Because I have been supporting this charity for some years, I have got to know them pretty well. It's a small outfit punching way above its weight. This is because of their ethos of empowerment rather than aid. There are no handouts - they work on providing knowledge and skills to poor rural communities, and then they encourage those who benefit to pass on their knowledge to their neighbours. 

Jess from Find Your Feet is their senior fundraiser, and a completely inspirational person. 

Jess, Atul Kochhar, Mallika Basu and Hari Ghotra
She works with a very small team to make sure all funds raised are used efficiently and with maximum benefit. Her passion for the work of Find Your Feet (whose work is not restricted to just India and Nepal, but also extends to Malawi) is infectious. 

At the Curry For Change launch, Jess had a simple but compelling message: 
"Every penny raised enables us to help more vulnerable families change their situation for the better by being able to grow enough food, strengthen their voices to speak out against injustice and earn enough money so they can find their feet.  For example, just
£12 can provide a farming demonstration to a village in India so families can learn how to conserve water and grow more crops. This year we hope to raise more than ever and that’s where the great British public come in - simply sign up and enjoy an Indian feast with friends and family!"

Mallika Basu is one of the Curry For Change campaign ambassadors. Her "Miss Masala" cookbook is an excellent primer for anyone wanting to learn how to cook Indian food. It's unique structure is designed to be like a "training course" in curry cooking; starting from the basics and moving to more complicated dishes. 

Mallika says of the campaign: "Not that anyone needs a reason, but Find Your Feet's Curry for Change campaign is a fantastic way to enjoy Indian food and contribute to those suffering in Africa and Asia.  I would recommend everyone to throw a dinner party right now!"

Meeting Chef Atul Kochhar; a true honour
If you want to support Curry For Change it couldn't be easier... or more fun!

You could eat at one of the restaurant supporters of the campaign. They are among the finest Indian restaurants in town, so you won't regret it.

Benares; Renowned Indian fusion restaurant in Mayfair from twice Michelin Starred Chef Atul Kochhar. Innovative and classy food. Great wine list. 

Cafe Spice Namaste; Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala's amazing and atmospheric pan-Indian restaurant.

Cinnamon Club; Vivek Singh's superb restaurant where I had a memorable anniversary dinner. 

Cinnamon Kitchen; Another Vivek Singh gaff, so good even my dad (who can cook) was impressed. 

Cinnamon Soho – Third Vivek Singh restaurant, where I sampled a great lunch tasting menu.

The Regency Club – award winning Indian Bar and Grill which I really must visit. 

If you want to host a Curry Night, then sign up at the Curry For Change website to get a special pack, including some curry spices to whip up your creations. You can find out how here:

You can also find some great recipes AND demonstration videos here:

If you do get involved, please do get in touch and let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can lend your voice in support on twitter by using the hashtag #CurryForChange.

I hope you will join me in helping this excellent little charity in their important work against hunger. 

Snigdha attended the launch of Curry For Change as a guest of Find Your Feet and Benares restaurant. Snigdha has not received any form of financial incentive to write this post. Snigdha is a genuine supporter of Find Your Feet and Curry For Change. 

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