Beyond Food Foundation at Brigade

Building the skills of vulnerable Londoners

Following AboutMyGeneration’s recent interview with Simon Boyle, founder of Beyond Food Foundation, here is an update on their Freshlife programme

Beyond Food Foundation took to the road this summer to run Freshlife, a 6 week series of interactive food workshops working with over 80 vulnerable participants from hostels and homeless organisations across London. The Foundation aims to engage and inspire people who are at risk of, or have experienced homelessness to gain meaningful employment in the catering industry. Chef Founder, Simon Boyle, is an instrumental part of the programme, from engaging with those who would otherwise find it difficult to get onto the job ladder; to creating the dishes one finds on the menu at Brigade, De Vere Venues, Tooley Street.

Throughout the 6 week programme Freshlife took participants on a food inspired journey. Following this, 32 people went on to complete a two week pre-work placement at Brigade, De Vere Venues, taking away with them a foundation in cooking ability. 8 people have now continued on their journey, making up the 5th Cohort of United Kitchen Apprentices for the Beyond Food Foundation.

During their 6 month placement at Brigade the 8 new apprentices will be working in all sections of the kitchen learning essential catering skills on the job. Along with kitchen training from Beyond Food Foundation’s own Chef Trainer, Leon Seraphin, the apprentices will receive mentoring and employability coaching from PwC employees.

An apprentice from last year’s cohort explains he joined the programme “to break the monotony of the last couple of years, and start doing something productive”. An overriding consensus amongst the apprentices has been to, “achieve a career”, “have a better future” and do “something I’d be passionate about”. Apprentices describe their work as “enjoyable, engaging and interesting”, whilst also being demanding. “Being on the apprenticeship is a challenge, but it is a good challenge as I’m learning all the time and meeting other people that are passionate about food.” Throughout the training programme the apprentices develop a love of cooking, and enjoy the sense of “self-satisfaction” of “being able to make people happy”.

Elias Queiros began his career with the Brigade and Beyond Food Foundation in September 2012, and has been working at The Savoy since March 2013. Brigade gave him the necessary foundation to begin this work, which allowed him to develop his skills to a level high enough for a top London hotel. 

Brigade was set up as a social enterprise, through investment with private funding coming from De Vere Venues, PwC (Price waterhouse Coopers) and other third party sponsorship such as Lambeth Council. The Beyond Food Foundation aims to offer vulnerable people a life changing opportunity to provide the qualifications and personal mentoring necessary to ensure sustainable employment in the future. At Brigade, outstanding food does more than just provide pleasure, it also creates new opportunities, new experiences and most of all, new connections.

The Fire Station
139 Tooley Street

Reservations: 0844 346 1200
Open from 8:30am Monday to Friday and Saturday 5:00pm to late