Us Jellybeans love a party. So an invite to The Next Big Event, the official charity gala dinner of Hotelympia was one we didn’t want to miss out on!
Held at ExCel London and hosted by Fresh Montgomery and Springboard, the night took on a carnival theme, celebrating all things Rio and the upcoming World Cup.
After sampling some deliciously exotic cocktails at the drinks reception, guests were greeted by a fanfare of colourfully dressed drummers as we were called to dinner, and while we took to our seats there was a palpable sense of excitement at what the evening would bring.
Attentively serviced from the outset by the waiting staff, conversation flowed (along with the wine) as we awaited the arrival of our compere for the evening – senior commentator Rob Palmer, of Sky Sports fame.
The food was a culinary delight, which was no surprise considering the talented team behind each dish!
Nick Vadis, UK Executive Chef, Compass Group teamed up with FutureChef Alumni member Ruth Hanson, The Ritz, to create a refreshing starter of Spring Heritage Tomato & Goats Cheese Salad – pickled and marinated Inca and Heritage Tomatoes, Goats Cheese Blancmange with Basil Jelly and Cress.
This was followed by a main course created by Darren Deadman, ExCel London who teamed up with FutureChef Alumni member April Partridge, The Ivy, of Poached Lamb Canon, Rillete of Lamb Shoulder and Lamb Belly Bacon served with Parsley Root Puree, Spring Swede and Minted Spring Peas and Lamb Jus – heavenly!
For the vegetarian guests, there was a similarly scrumptious dish of Grilled Asparagus Spears, Ragout of Asparagus and Asparagus Gnocchi, served with Parsley Root Puree, Spring Swede and Minted Spring Peas and Vegetable Jus.
If that wasn’t enough of a delight, dessert was the mastermind of award winning chocolatier William Curley, Elior, who teamed up with FutureChef Alumni member Conor McClean, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. The dish – Chocolate Orange ‘Jaffa’ with Orange Sauce and Orange
Yoghurt Ice Cream -was a melt in the mouth moment!
Once the tables had been cleared it was time for the entertainment to get under way! An array of drummers, dancers and performers took to the stage, led by a group of Springboard beneficiaries, in a South American styled carnival! As well as the carnival entertainment, guests also took part in football inspired games and auctions to raise money for the charity.
But of course there was a serious side to the evening and that was learning about the fantastic work that Springboard has done, and continues to do. Having just celebrated its 14th year of FutureChef, we heard from those that have been helped by the charity and how the support they have been given has set them on their way to a bright and positive future.
The evening was loud, it was colourful, it was fun, it was what carnivals are all about, but it was also inspirational and that combination made for a great night.
As guests left to catch their carriages home, the total money raised was still be counted, but there’s no doubt that it was a hugely successful night for all involved!
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