The Handbook
The Handbook

It might have taken a global pandemic and national lockdown to get us here but we’re pretty excited about some of the UK’s hottest chefs turning up to our dining tables this weekend – virtually, of course.

This Friday 29th May, the likes of Yotam Ottolenghi, Angela Hartnett, Jeremy Lee and Thomasina Miers will come together as part of Belazu’s Virtual Banquet, giving foodies the chance to cook up a vegetarian feast together with the famous names.

Kicking off the weekend at 6pm on Friday, the online event invites home cooks to create a four-course menu in their own kitchens under the expert guidance of some of the country’s biggest names, plus some socially distanced entertainment, from magic to comedy, will be thrown into the mix too.

Renowned bartender Ryan Ryan Chetiyawardana, better known as Mr Lyan, will kick things off with a cocktail masterclass. Ryan is pretty much the top dog when it comes to tipples so the intimate session is sure to thrill wannabe cocktail makers.

Ottolenghi will be making his famous hummus and sharing his secrets with guests, while Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Angela Hartnett will be making a spring salad with courgette, broad beans and lovage pesto, while the boys at Pizza Pilgrims will be serving up their signature pillowy flat breads to scoop it all up with.

The starter is sure to impress any Mexican cuisine fans as Thomasina Miers, co-founder of Wahaca will be creating a colourful, smoked chilli harissa asparagus, and for mains, Helen Graham of Bubala will be cooking up a storm with saffron gigli and chickpeas with smoked tomatoes.

It wouldn’t be a feast celebrating some of London’s best veggie cooking without Josh Katz of Berber & Q cooking up his famous Cauliflower Shawarma – if you know, you know. That will be accompanied by Ramael Scully of Scully’s Kitchen’s sweet roasted pepper salad, before Jeremy Lee of Quo Vadis will be sharing the delights of his berry ricotta.

Sure, we can all cook up a tasty veggie meal at home, but you’d be hard pushed to find better guidance than from this lot. Plus, there will also be online entertainment from comedians Wendy Wason and magician Chris Dodd – you don’t get that at your average dinner party.

The Friday night dinner also backs a good cause; organisers Belazu, who are usually a food supplier to chefs and home cooks, are using the event to raise money for the Belazu Foundation and its charity partner, Chefs in Schools.

Normally, the charity aims to place professional, restaurant-trained chefs in primary schools in order to transform their food, food culture and food education. However, during lockdown, Chefs in Schools have created an emergency fund to deal with the crisis in which the number of households with children going hungry has doubled, leaving more than a fifth of families without access to enough food. For every £90 ticket sold (this cooks for and feeds two), 60 meals will be given to families in need.

Friday night lockdown plans, celebrity chefs round for dinner and all for a good cause. Where do we sign up?

Each ticket is priced at  £90 for 2 people, including food for a generous four-course dinner (snack, starter, main, dessert and a cocktail).

Ticket purchases and further donations can be made online at: Belazu.com (diners will need to state their home address in order to accept deliveries).

The Handbook has teamed up with The Grill at The Dorchester for an exclusive competition. Entrants will have the chance to win a dinner for two at The Grill at The Dorchester when it re-opens! www.dorchestercollection.com