Michelin Star chefs put on fundraising dinner like no other
Just under two years ago, Matt Davies received a severe electric shock that left him fighting for his life and ultimately left him without the use of his left arm. At the time, Matt was a Michelin listed chef, who was responsible for an 80-strong group of staff working across six Michelin Listed and Multi AA Rosette fine dining restaurants in Staffordshire.
Nearly two years on from his accident, Matt held a fundraising dinner which saw seven Michelin starred chefs come together to put on a dinner like no other. The chefs, Tom Brown, Glynn Purnell, Luke Tipping, Jonathan Howe, Aktar Islam, Adam Bennett and Andreas Antona, put on a dazzling evening of food at University College Birmingham to raise money for Matt’s chosen charities, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) Charity, Mind, Hospitality Action and University Hospitals of North Midlands Charity.
Matt (centre) pictured with the chefs. Photo - Kevin Byrne.
The evening raised an incredible £8,000, of which £4,000 was donated to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity.
Speaking on the evening, Matt said: “Just under two years ago my life literally came to a standstill, through horrific trauma, from suffering a life-changing accident and spending over three weeks at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.”
Whilst he was at QEHB, Matt was cared for by Lieutenant Colonel Mark Foster, who specialises in reconstructive and plastic surgery on hands and arms. Matt underwent six procedures during his time in hospital, which included a fasciotomy to relieve tension and swelling in his arm.
At the dinner, Matt said: “To the stunning professional medical team, I stand and salute you all. You saved my life.”
The idea to host a fundraising dinner came to Matt when he was still in hospital and had a visit from his friends Andreas Antona and Luke Tipping. Matt said: “I knew that I wanted to do something to give back after my time in hospital. About eight months after I left hospital I approached Andreas and told him about my idea.”
Matt decided to bring together a group of world-class chefs, all of whom he had worked with or was good friends with, for an evening of fundraising. Matt said: “The guys didn’t hesitate and they all wanted to help out and donated their time for the evening and we worked to put the menu together.”
One of the six exquisite courses served on the evening. Photo: Kevin Byrne.
Tickets for this special event sold out within two weeks, with Matt’s friends and family, and colleagues from across the industry all pitching in to support the evening.
The night was a great success, Matt said: “It was a great evening, everything went perfectly and the food and drink was just amazing. There was a great atmosphere in the room, it wasn’t too formal and everyone was laughing.”
After the guests were treated to a six course meal like no other, there was an auction with some exceptional prizes including a course for eight people at the Novelli Academy Cookery School, donated by Jean Christopher Novelli, and a four course champagne lunch at Lympstone Manor, donated by Michael Caines MBE.
Photo: Kevin Byrne.
The auction contributed to the incredible fundraising total of £8,000, with £4,000 being donated to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity’s fund for plastic reconstructive surgery. The money will help Lieutenant Colonel Mark Foster and other members of the plastics and reconstructive team to further improve the incredible quality of care that they provide.
Mark said: “Matt is a wonderful man who has overcome so much to be where he is today and to have raised such a brilliant amount of money through the fundraising evening. It was a pleasure to be there on the night and to enjoy a meal like no other, all to the benefit of four excellent causes.
“The money that has been donated to QEHB Charity will help us to support our patients in new ways. Thanks to the Charity, we have been able to provide iPads for our patients, so that they can listen to music whilst they are in surgery. I know that the iPads made a huge difference to Matt when he was undergoing surgery and they’ve benefitted many other patients.
“We are hoping to launch a new research trial at the hospital for patients with nerve damage, and the money that Matt has raised through the evening could help to fund this.”
Matt said: “This amazing dinner would not have been possible without so many people. Jon and Beth Toovey have my sincere gratitude for organising the dinner, and of course to Glyn, Luke, Jon, Tom, Adam and Aktar who gave up their precious time to cook. Thank you to University College Birmingham for letting us use their wonderful venue, and thanks to all of the amazing sponsors for their tremendous generosity.”
Matt is already planning to take on more fundraising in the future, and has more upcoming surgery to help with the nerve problems that he is experiencing with his arm. He said: “I feel more prepared and ready than ever. I’ll forever be thankful to Mark and the team from QEHB for what they’ve done. And of course to my beautiful wife Tina, my dear children Lee, Katie and Millie, my mum, my sister and my very dear close friends who have all given me tremendous love and total support and a reason for carrying on and living.”