Jim Eaves, the University's very own Executive Chef from Warwick Conferences, has been recognised as a Culinary Hero for his work and volunteering efforts during the pandemic. He was one of 44 chefs nominated for the Craft Guild of Chefs: Culinary Awards, all being recognised for the work of chefs across the country who have worked tirelessly to put people and their community first.
The awards ceremony took place on Thursday 23 September at the renowned Landing Forty Two, the Leadenhall Building in London.
Jim, our celebrated chef, said:
"I was lucky to be nominated and selected with some amazing people from around the UK who had done some interesting and inventive things to help out in their communities."
After being furloughed, Jim wanted to stay proactive and searched for ways he could contribute to the local community.
"I got involved with Langar Aid in May 2020 as I wanted to keep busy when furloughed from work. I contacted the University to get some contact details for local organisations that needed volunteers of which Langar Aid was one, they called me and I arranged to meet with them."
Langar Aid is a Sikh charity based in Coventry, located at Langar Aid House in Upper Spon Street in Coventry. They supply free food to homeless, vulnerable people as well as other eventualities that occur.
"I am a volunteer Chef which means that I go in to cook hot food for local homeless and vulnerable people. During the pandemic I was cooking for around 300 people each session, which consisted of meals going out to local hotels and the Salvation Army hostel, as the homeless had been placed into local hotel accommodation to take them off the streets, and as an evening feed at the back door of the Langar Aid House for around 70 people.
"All of the food throughout has been donated by local supermarkets so each session can be interesting as I have no idea what will be there to cook when I arrive, which has led to some interesting meals being created including a large pumpkin grown in a local allotment which became sweet & sour pumpkin with vegetable noodles.
"There had been sponsored sessions where I worked with Warwickshire Police to create food for the Langar Aid users as well as vulnerable and elderly people in Nuneaton and Bedworth. On another occasion, I cooked using produce donated by a local couple who had won on Euro Millions lottery, this gained local and national press attention.
"I am still volunteering so have completed eighteen months and will continue to cook for them."
In addition to Jim's outstanding efforts during the pandemic, volunteering has long been important to him. Jim has been volunteering at Birmingham Christmas Shelter since 2011, cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner on Christmas Day and Boxing Day each year for homeless people in Birmingham. He is currently planning the menus and details with the shelter, ready for a reopening this coming December.
We are very proud of Jim and his peers at Langar Aid and are delighted he has been honoured with this award.