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Leading UK chefs take on Mount Kilimanjaro climb for Farm Africa

19 July 2013

Ashley Palmer-Watts’ crack team of chefs aim to raise £50,000

A team of leading chefs and restaurateurs from some of the UK’s most successful restaurants are to put themselves through a gruelling six day climb to the top of Africa’s highest mountain to raise funds for the leading UK charity, Farm Africa.

In late August Ashley Palmer-Watts (Dinner by Heston Blumenthal), Paul Foster (Tuddenham Mill), John Freeman (Restaurant Sat Bains) and Paulo de Tarso (Senior Maître D’ at Bar Boulud) will swap the refined surroundings of their elegant dining rooms for the demanding mountain trails of Mount Kilimanjaro, standing at 5,895 metres above sea level. They will be joined by specialist cameraman Paul Gwilliams who will be capturing all the action from the mountain. Getting to the summit of Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, is the equivalent of climbing Big Ben 61 times. But before they get there the chefs will have to cope with thin air, very basic food rations and freezing nights sleeping in basic tents on the side of the mountain.

But the team is ready to put up with any hardship Kilimanjaro can throw at them thanks to their determination to reach their fundraising target of £50,000 for Farm Africa.

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. 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.”


Pre-climb fundraising

The climb is still more than a month away but the team has already been working furiously to raise as much money as they can. At a recent fundraising dinner at London’s prestigious Galvin La Chapelle restaurant they auctioned off a once-in-a-lifetime prize for the chefs to cook dinner at a bidder’s home. And Tuddenham Mill Head Chef Paul Foster has put together a fundraising five-a-side football tournament for teams from 16 restaurants across the UK to take place in Cambridge on 28 July. Not to be outdone, Ashley will be taking part in RideLondon, a 100km sponsored bike ride around London and Surrey, in early August. John Freeman has set up an online auction for people to bid for him to cook a six course dinner in the comfort of their own home. And the climbers’ restaurants are also getting into the spirit of things with Bar Boulud, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Tuddenham Mill each soon to introduce a discretionary £1 addition to diners’ bills in the run up to the climb.

Kilimanjaro film and talk at the 2013 Restaurant Show at Earl’s Court

Shortly after descending from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Ashley, John, Paulo and Paul will be appearing at this year’s prestigious Restaurant Show at London’s Earl’s Court. The session, led by Ashley, will look at what motivated the team to take on climbing Kilimanjaro, their experiences on the mountain and their future plans for fundraising for Farm Africa. They will be showing a short film shot on the mountainside by cameraman Paul Gwilliams, and there will be an opportunity to quiz the team on their experiences in a q and a session.

The Restaurant Show 2013 takes place at Earl’s Court between 7 and 9 October with the exact date and time of the chefs’ talk still to be confirmed. Further information and details are available here:

You can follow the chefs in real time as they train for and take on Kilimanjaro via their dedicated blog:

You can also follow all the action on Twitter via #Chefkili

To support Ashley, Paulo, John, Paul and Paul, please visit:

Or text CHEF13 followed by £(amount) to 70070

For more information, and to arrange interviews with the chefs, please contact the Farm Africa Press Office:


Matt Whitticase, 020 7067 1237 /


Images are available on request.



Notes to Editor:

About Farm Africa

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.


Food for Good

The Chefs’ Kilimanjaro Challenge is part of Food for Good, a Farm Africa initiative that is bringing together the food and hospitality industry to tackle one of the biggest challenges facing the world today: hunger. You can find out more about Food for Good here:


In addition, Farm Africa is the chosen charity for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards 2013, sponsored by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna.


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