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Sixteen top UK restaurants to go head to head in Cambridge football tournament

22 July 2013

Tournament kicks off major fundraising effort before Kilimanjaro charity climb

Chefs and staff from sixteen renowned restaurants from across the UK are to swap their kitchen whites for football boots in a five-a-side tournament for the leading UK charity, Farm Africa.

The tournament, which takes place in Cambridge on Sunday 28 July, kicks off a major fundraising drive for four top UK chefs and restaurant personalities who next month will climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, to raise funds for Farm Africa.

The tournament has been put together by one of the Kilimanjaro-climbing chefs, Paul Foster, who is Head Chef at Suffolk’s Tuddenham Mill. Joining Paul to tackle the world’s tallest freestanding mountain next month will be Ashley Palmer Watts (Head Chef at the Michelin-starred Dinner by Heston Blumenthal); Paulo de Tarso (Senior Maître D’ at Bar Boulud in London’s Knightbridge); and John Freeman (Head Chef at the Michelin-starred Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham).

And with just a month to go until the chefs fly to Kenya, it’s clear that Paul Foster already has his sights set firmly on the fundraising goal. The sixteen restaurant teams have each paid an entry fee to compete on the day with the final tournament line-up looking like a teamsheet for the great and good of the UK restaurant scene:

Explaining his enthusiasm for spicing up the pre-climb fundraising with some competitive football, Paul said:

"I can't wait. Chefs are very competitive by nature and having the chance to compete against your peers on a different level is an exciting prospect. It will also be a great way to shout about Farm Africa and the brilliant work they do. The idea was Lee Bye's, one of my old sous chefs. We both agreed it was a fantastic way to generate awareness for the charity and the climb."

Spectators on the day will be able to enjoy all the action pitch-side as well as have the chance to win some unique raffle prizes. Prizes donated so far to help the chefs' fundraising effort include: lunch for four at Reading's French restaurant L'Ortolan; a complimentary meal and stay at Paul Foster's Tuddenham Mill; vouchers to spend at the Freemasons gastropub in Clitheroe, Lancashire; a full day course at the Taste Academy cookery school; a signed copy of cookery book by Phil Howard, chef and co-owner of The Square in London's Mayfair; and a bottle of luxurious Argan oil.

Teams have paid a fee to join which all goes into the fundraising pot for the Kilimanjaro Challenge. 

The action kicks off at 10am sharp on Sunday 28 July at The Manor, Arbury Road, Cambridge CB4 2JF.

And for any of the players or spectators who may have worked up a thirst after a few games, the fun will carry on after 4pm at the Maypole pub: 20A Portugal St., Cambridge CB5 8AF

Not to be outdone on the fundraising front, 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.


You can follow the chefs in real time as they train for and take on Kilimanjaro via their dedicated Chefs with Altitude 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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