Back in August 2013, I decided to dedicate myself to an idea for a social enterprise that would use food to improve the lives of disadvantaged groups in Greater Manchester. 4Lunch was born and it’s been my baby ever since.
After many amazing years living in Manchester and nurturing 4Lunch, I have made the decision to move back to London at the end of the year.
It’s a decision I made early this year in order to be closer to my partner, family and friends. I have also managed to develop 4Lunch to its fruition and I feel in my heart that it is now time for me to take on my next challenge.
I am equally excited and terrified about what’s next in London. But I am certain I will continue to work in the social enterprise sector, putting my experience at 4Lunch to good use.
I’d like to take this chance to thank all my wonderful customers, learners and collaborators. Your continued support has enabled 4Lunch to flourish over the years and helped us to provide so many meaningful and memorable cookery experiences to hundreds of people.
I am currently training up Najwa from Sofra, to take on my current cookery projects. All of my teaching resources and recipes will also be available to access on the 4Lunch website.
Update Friday 13th December 2019
After 7 great years, my journey at 4Lunch has come to an end this week. We’ve served our final plates and said our goodbyes to our wonderful customers and learners.
Today, I’m not saddened by the end of an era. I’m saddened and dismayed by the fact that most of this country evidently do not want a better, more humane, less unequal society. Most people have said a big fat no to a government that cares about looking after one another and the environment.
I started 4Lunch in response to the effects of austerity on everyday people. I wanted to use social entrepreneurship to give people opportunities and learning experiences through food so that they could be self-sufficient and lead healthier, richer lives. The situation was bad when I started in 2013. Now I fear it’s even worse.
But this huge setback also makes me determined more than ever to make a difference through my work. I’m proud that 4Lunch has enabled me to help people in my little corner of the universe. We’ve provided cooking experiences to homeless families, asylum seekers and refugees, young people leaving care, disabled adults, those living with a mental health condition, and supported people into jobs and setting up their own businesses. 4Lunch has done well, enabling me to make extra food for the homeless (thank you Mad Dogs Street Project) and to take time to offer a room in my home for homeless young people through Nightstop UK
Now I’m done with 4Lunch, I can say that it is possible for someone to generate a positive force by acting upon what they believe in, and we should all keep trying, especially now.
In other sad news, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant has closed. Fifteen was a huge inspiration for 4Lunch – when I first started, I wanted 4Lunch to be like Fifteen, giving opportunities to young people, but with street food. When announcing I was leaving 4Lunch, it hadn’t occurred to me that some people might have thought we’d folded like Fifteen. Just to be clear – I probably could have continued on with 4Lunch for years to come. I never took on debt, I kept operations super lean and I focused on repeat business and long-term projects with my loyal customers.
I decided I’d leave 12 months ago, to prioritise my life in London with my partner Tom. In the end, love > money. A sentiment the current government knows nothing about.
Finally, to my beloved Manchester. I love Manchester so much. What a place. I could only have set up 4Lunch in a place like Manchester. I will miss this city greatly.