The critics and Lynn Murray from Champagne Tattingeri

Too Many Critics 2017 at Hakkasan

Chefs, critics and food industry professionals came together to raise a record breaking £43,202 for Action Against Hunger

By Louisa Hodge

Jul 10 2017

Last night at Hakkasan Hanway Place, a team of some of the UK’s top restaurant critics felt the real heat of the kitchen as part of Action Against Hunger’s annual event Too Many Critics. The event raises crucial funds towards our work to help malnourished children regain their health and fulfil their potential.

This year, Bill Knott, Jay Rayner, Joe Warwick, Tracey Macleod, William Sitwell, and Adam Hyman were all thrown in the deep end, tasked with creating some of Hakkasan’s signature Cantonese dishes for a room full of over 100 guests and chefs – certainly no mean feat! Whilst under the watchful eyes of Hakkasan’s head chef and kitchen team, the critics created some delicious dishes including steamed dumplings, grilled Chilean Seabass and a chocolate and olive oil ganache.

Out in the relative calm of the dining room, some of the UK’s finest chefs including Vivek Singh, Nieves Barragán Mohacho, Tom Hunt and Pascal Aussignac were taking some well-deserved respite from their kitchens to enjoy the food on offer. With clean plates being sent back to the kitchen, they seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the evening.

Host for the evening, BBC Radio 2’s Nigel Barden kept guests entertained in-between courses with fundraising games and a live auction, where guests had the opportunity to bid on some exclusive money-can’t-buy prizes.

Paul A. Young, a master chocolatier, alongside Bill Knott and Tom Parker-Bowles all generously decided to donate their auction prizes twice, raising a fantastic £14,200 between them. Paul also gave the guests an insight into why he supports Action Against Hunger. He noted that many of the countries from which he sources his cocoa beans are countries that suffer widely from poverty. He said that by supporting Action Against Hunger, he can be assured that he is helping those people to live more sustainable lives. This same sentiment was also raised by Nick Gibson and Will Beckett who gave moving speeches about their experiences visiting some of Action Against Hunger’s projects in India and Lebanon.

With Nigel’s encouragement and some incredibly generous bidders, the event raised a record-breaking £43,202 to help provide malnourished children around the world with healthier futures.

Not only did Hakkasan help make the fundraising break records last night, they also broke all records last year by raising the most a restaurant group has ever raised during our Love Food Give Food campaign. 

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved, including Hakkasan for their generous hospitality (and letting the critics loose in their kitchen!), all of the sponsors for the evening, and of course the guests, chefs and critics who pulled off such an incredible event. It is because of your support that we can continue to help malnourished children to survive and thrive. Thank you. 

The generous sponsors for the evening include: Hakkasan, Champagne Taittinger, Caffé Musetti, Diageo Reserve, Enotria & Co, Flint Wines, Liberty Wines, Shield Foods, Voss and Butcher & Edmonds.


Pictures from the evening

The programme and auction lots for the evening

The critics alongside Hakkasan's kitchen team

The critics and Hakkasan's chefs plating up the dimsum platter

Jay Rayner, Adam Hyman and Tracey Macleod add the finishing touches to the dimsum 

Paul A. Young speaks with guests 

The critics and Lynn Murray from Champagne Taittinger

Guests take their seats at Hakkasan 

Katy Cottam from Bol Foods wins the Heads & Tails game

Bill Knott and Joe Warwick take a break from service with some of Hakkasan's chefs

Nick Gibson takes a look at the auction prizes on offer

Nigel Barden keeping guests entertained throughout the evening

Guests await their first course

Tracey Macleod garnishing one of the main dishes

Bill Knott hugs Will Beckett from Hawksmoor after he recalls his visit to Action Against Hunger's projects in Lebanon

Images: Samuel Hauenstein Swan for Action Against Hunger

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