Michelin-starred London chef caters for those in need amidst coronavirus shutdownRecord ID: 1465543
- Title: Michelin-starred London chef caters for those in need amidst coronavirus shutdown
- Date: 24th March 2020
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (MARCH 24, 2020) (REUTERS) MICHELIN STAR-WINNING CHEF AND OWNER OF A.WONG, ANDREW WONG, PREPARING VEGETABLES VEGETABLES BEING PREPARED WONG PREPARING VEGETABLES STATUE OF CHINESE LION ON COUNTER MICHELIN LOGO OUTSIDE RESTAURANT RESTAURANT ENTRANCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) MICHELIN STAR-WINNING CHEF AND OWNER OF A.WONG, ANDREW WONG, SAYING: "I think it's important because we've been very lucky in the sense that the local residents have always supported us for the past eight years, and if there's anything we can do to support the community during this time, then we'll absolutely try." VEGETABLES BEING PUT INTO TAKEAWAY BOX VARIOUS OF WONG PUTTING NOODLES INTO TAKEAWAY BOX (SOUNDBITE) (English) MICHELIN STAR-WINNING CHEF AND OWNER OF A.WONG, ANDREW WONG, SAYING: "On a daily basis, we're going to aim for between about 50 and 100. A lot of it is dependent on supplies that we can get in and also the demand for it. The ironic thing is that sometimes even when you do something like this, finding people to give it to actually ends up being another additional hurdle, which actually we have to overcome as well." WONG PUTTING SAUCE INTO TAKEAWAY CONTAINER WONG PUTTING SAUCE CONTAINERS INTO BOXES TAKEAWAY BOXES WITH NOODLES, VEGETABLES AND SAUCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) MICHELIN STAR-WINNING CHEF AND OWNER OF A.WONG, ANDREW WONG, SAYING: "Difficulties with regards to sourcing, difficulties with the logistics of how we're going to distribute these if the lockdown becomes more and more serious - these are absolute problems that we're going to face. But from what I've learned in the last week-an-a-half is basically don't make too many long-term plans. At the moment, if you can help people from a day-to-day basis, then just concentrate on that. Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. You know, all our business plans have gone out the window anyway. So whatever we can do in the immediate future - if we can help one person and make them temporarily happy, give them one meal, then that's enough for the moment. Whatever happens after that, we'll deal with it tomorrow. WONG PREPARING FOOD HAND SANITISING GEL IN THE FOREGROUND / WONG IN KITCHEN IN THE BACKGROUND NOODLES BEING BLANCHED IN WOK VARIOUS OF WONG DRAINING NOODLES VARIOUS OF WONG PREPARING NOODLES (SOUNDBITE) (English) MICHELIN STAR-WINNING CHEF AND OWNER OF A.WONG, ANDREW WONG, SAYING: "So, in the back of my mind, I was always saying, well, business is going to slump, but we could still trade and, you know, we could still tick along. And when it became very apparent that it's more than just trade. This is about the medical implications of staying open and the pandemic ramifications of staying open, then it becomes a different proposition. I think as an individual, you have to sit down and you have to go, 'you know what? There are things in this world which are more important than profit and money, and if we if we go under, at least try and go under with a good heart, you know." DINING TABLES IN RESTAURANT WONG PREPARING TAKEAWAY BOXES THROUGH WINDOW VARIOUS OF WONG BOXING UP TAKEAWAY BOXES
- Keywords: Andrew Wong Coronavirus London Michelin star elderly people food delivery lockdown outbreak resturants vulnerable people
- Reuters ID: LVA001C6EW2TJ
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- City: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: United Kingdom
- Duration: 00:04:38
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: Michelin star-winning chef Andrew Wong is used to serving around 120 diners a day at his flagship A.Wong restaurant in London's Pimlico.
But after restaurants, cafes and bars were told to shut as part of Britain's measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the restaurant's takings have vanished in a matter of days.
To keep his staff occupied and serve those in need at a time of great uncertainty for all, Wong stumbled upon an idea to pay back the goodwill he's received from the local community by preparing pre-prepared free meals for those in need.
The team plan to produce 50-100 cook-at-home boxes a day, dependent on available supplies, while distribution is also a hurdle with London and the rest of the UK now being advised by the government to "stay at home."
The London-born chef says the progressive restrictions imposed on British society in response to the coronavirus pandemic has taught him to live day-to-day.
"All our business plans have gone out the window anyway," Wong told Reuters on Tuesday (March 24).
"Whatever we can do in the immediate future - if we can help one person and make them temporarily happy, give them one meal, then that's enough for the moment."
Annual turnover at A.Wong is usually in the millions, much of which is absorbed by the daily costs of business, including paying the 70 to 80 staff members employed across A.Wong and its sister restaurant, Kym's.
With a protracted period of lockdown expected throughout the UK, most stakeholders in the hospitality industry are anxious to secure their own survival in the face of a suddenly absent clientele.
But Wong says the seismic health risks of the coronavirus pandemic mean his thoughts are not immediately on preserving his trade.
"There are things in this world which are more important than profit and money, and if we if we go under, at least try and go under with a good heart," he said.
(Production: Will Russell, Jonathan Shenfield, Ben Dangerfield)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Embargoed:7th April 2020 19:35
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None