Illustration of food donation. (Shutterstock/addkm)
Michelin-starred British celebrity chef Tom Kerridge is doing his bit to help overworked doctors, nurses and other frontline workers get through the coronavirus emergency by churning out 1,000 ready meals per day.
Kerridge, who has presented cooking programs on UK television, runs eight food-led businesses including "The Hand & Flowers", a pub with two Michelin stars, but they have been hit by the lockdown imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Kerridge said he and friends set up "Meals from Marlow" following a social media post from Wexham Park Hospital in the nearby town of Slough, west of London, seeking help for staff who had no canteen and limited access to food in supermarkets.
"So it was like 'OK, what can we do?... How do I help, when I've got a unit that produces food for an airline and corporate entertainment for football, Premier League football and does Formula One ... that whole thing is shut down," he told Reuters.
A GoFundMe page followed and within five days the group had raised 140,000 pounds ($175,000).
With that cash and donations from local food suppliers, they were able to use Kerridge's food production facility "The Lush Unit" to start making meals for local hospital workers and vulnerable people. They hope to have enough money and volunteers to keep going for at least six weeks.
"The food is actually being taken to them (doctors and nurses) physically on the ward... and they... can just stick it in a microwave and ...get on - it's fuel to keep them going," said Kerridge.
Noting the strong public response to his project and the large number of "thank you" emails, texts and photographs he has received, he added: "Little things seem to go a long, long way at the minute, emotionally."
Kerridge, 46, said staying busy was key to dealing with all the bad news generated by the pandemic, which has now killed more than 150,000 people worldwide, including more than 14,000 in the United Kingdom.
"Just setting out the 'Meals from Marlow', I think something like that... keeps me feeling positive," he said.
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