Britain’s top chefs on stage after creating epic dinner

Published Date
Kate Cleaver

Britain’s top chefs on stage after creating a dinner, hosted by Prue Leith at Porchester Hall, held in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the publication of The Great Chefs of France, which raised £140,000 for Muscular Dystrophy UK.

The chefs were Darina Allen, Sally Clarke, Matthew Fort, Chris and Jess Galvin, Skye Gyngell, Margot Henderson, Richard Corrigan, Rowley Leigh, Prue Leith, Tom Parker Bowles and Ruth Rogers with The River Café.

Between them they produced an epic dinner, served to 395 guests, to celebrate the book which was written by first ever restaurant critic, journalist and author, Quentin Crewe. The high-profile event was held on Thursday 14 November, the day Quentin passed away on his 72nd birthday, 21 years ago. He lived with muscular dystrophy for his entire life.

It was organised by the Q Trust and led by Quentin’s daughter Candida, whose idea it was. She is a committee member of the Trust which has raised over £2.5 million for Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK) since it was set up in her father’s name three years after he passed away in 1998. Prue Leith said:

Many of us in this room knew Quentin and adored him. He was a remarkable man and had a remarkable life. At the age of six he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and given 10 years to live, but took no notice and lived to seventy two. Hugely revered by the food world for his seminal book The Great Chefs of France (the 40th anniversary of which is the excuse for this jamboree), he was also an intrepid traveller, once crossing the Sahara in his wheelchair in a truck and getting blown out of it by a landmine; he managed to stay friends with his wives and children through his multiple marriages.

The Q Trust is focused on raising funds to develop the new MDUK Oxford Neuromuscular Centre, which will increase clinical trial capacity across the UK.

About the Q Trust

The Q Trust was founded by Mark Reynolds in 2001 in memory of his friend, Quentin Crewe. A series of imaginative and unstuffy events raised nearly £500,000 in an astonishingly short space of time. As founder of the Q Trust Mark, who died in 2005, will be remembered for having achieved an outstanding amount both in publicising muscular dystrophy and in securing research funding for this little understood condition and therapeutic care for those who live with the condition.

Colourful dinners

Mark himself was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at an early age, when little was known about the condition and medical advice was unhelpful. A strict vegetarian diet was prescribed, but provision for vegetarians was not then so imaginative, and he often improvised if faced with something too dull. Dinners would be enlivened when he ate the flower arrangement, daffodils being a particular favourite.

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