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Summit to celebrate: leading UK chefs triumph on peak of Kilimanjaro

* summit image.jpgSome leading UK chefs are celebrating after conquering Africa's highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, as part of a bid to raise £50,000 for charity.

The team, led by the Fat Duck Group's Executive Head Chef Ashley Palmer-Watts, reached Uhuru Peak - the highest point in Africa - at 5.55 am BST on August 28th.

The moment of triumph came after a gruelling eight hour slog over treacherous paths and mountainous scree. The men had set out from camp at 10pm, trekking and climbing through freezing night time conditions before emerging on to the summit of Kilimanjaro to witness a glorious African sunrise over the plains below.

The fact that the entire team made it to the top is a huge achievement. Only 41% of all those who set out to climb Kilimanjaro actually reach the summit at Uhuru Peak, which towers over Africa at a height of 5,895 metres above sea level. Getting to the top is the equivalent of climbing Big Ben 61 times.

The team also includes John Freeman, Head Chef at the Michelin-starred Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham; Paul Foster, Head Chef at Suffolk's highly regarded Tuddenham Mill; and Paulo de Tarso, Senior Ma"tre D' at Knightsbridge's Bar Boulud.

With further donations certain to flood in following their Kilimanjaro triumph, the chefs are already within reach of their fundraising target of £50,000. To date, they have raised a very impressive sum of £47,212 for Farm Africa. Just before setting out for Africa the team received a major sponsorship boost from Chemex, the cleaning and hygiene supplies specialist.

Chemex Director Sean Derrig says: "This has been a fantastic achievement for the team and I am delighted that Chemex has been able to play a part in their success. Not only will their efforts raise much needed funding to help prevent food poverty in Africa but they have also raised awareness about alternative solutions to ending the cycle of hunger by enabling people to become self supporting."

All the money raised from the climb will go towards Farm Africa's Food for Good campaign which brings together the UK food and hospitality industries to help tackle one of the most pressing problems facing the world today: hunger.

Welcoming the team's news from London, Farm Africa's Chief Executive Nigel Harris said:

"This really is the most thrilling news. On behalf of everyone at Farm Africa, I'd like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Ashley and his team for all their commitment and hard work in getting ready for this challenge. They have raised an extraordinary amount of money, as well as great awareness of Farm Africa and its work among the UK's hospitality industry."

Ashley Palmer-Watts was inspired to come up with the idea of a Mount Kilimanjaro fundraising climb after travelling to Kenya last year to visit a Farm Africa project. The Michelin-starred chef saw with his own eyes how the charity is transforming lives for the better after staying for a week with a family of fish farmers at the heart of a Farm Africa project. He returned to the UK determined to strengthen his support for Farm Africa's work. Ashley has led his fellow chefs on a return visit to Farm Africa's fish farming project before they headed off to Tanzania to conquer Kilimanjaro.
Explaining what had motivated his fellow chefs to join him for the challenge of a lifetime, Ashley said:

"As chefs, our daily lives revolve round serving great food in luxurious surroundings. But we are all only too aware that beyond our restaurants' walls there are close to a billion people going hungry every day. Without food, these people have no hope for making a better future for themselves. Last year I was lucky enough to travel to Kenya to see the inspirational work Farm Africa is doing to beat hunger.

"We all have to do our bit to help tackle hunger and I am confident that the UK food and hospitality world will support our climb and the wonderful work Farm Africa is doing to tackle one of the greatest problems facing the world today."

Farm Africa supports farmers living at subsistence level, constantly at risk of crop failure, to build food and income security so that they can grow a better and reliable future for their families. By focusing on 'climate smart' agricultural and forestry techniques, building market links and adding value to production, Farm Africa unleashes the entrepreneurial abilities of the farmers and rural communities they work with. This is the time to turn challenge into opportunity for African farmers. Farm Africa believes passionately that smallholders can and will play a key role in achieving rural prosperity in Africa.

Image: (from left) Paulo de Tarso, John Freeman, Paul Foster, Ashley Palmer-Watts.

To support Ashley, Paulo, John, Paul and Paul, please visit: www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/chefskilimanjaroclimb

Or text CHEF13 followed by £(amount) to 70070

T: 0207 067 1237
E: mattheww@farmafrica.org
www.farmafrica.org

6th September 2013




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