Q Awards Weekly Wrap: Naked Wines' South African appeal, London's new street food market

My Weekly Wrap for the Quality Food and Drink Awards website features the new Bond style TV advert from Casillero del Diablo, an opportunity to help raise much needed money to help feed poor children in the Winelands of South Africa, thanks to Naked Wines, to a new crowdfunding scheme to set up a permanent street food site in central London. 


Help South African children by donating money with Naked Wines


Wine lovers all over the country were donating money they usually spend on their lunch today to help raise money for a soup kitchen for underprivileged children in the Winelands of South Africa.

Customers of  Naked Wines, known as Angels, have been asked to join an initiative started by one of the online retailer’s star winemakers in South Africa, Carmen Stevens of Amani Vineyards in Stellenbosch.

Stevens, who was one of the first black women winemakers in South Africa, has been running a soup kitchen in an area where three out of four children go hungry every day for the last two years. The kitchen has expanded from just feeding a couple of the workers at the winery to a project that was attracting up to 400 children a week from across the Winelands area.

But in an open letter to Naked Wines’ Angels she says the money that was helping to fund the project was running out and hoped they might be able to help out in this small way. She hopes any money raised will help her fund similar projects covering five schools.

Naked Wines already runs a Free Food Friday initiative where staff take it in turn to cook for the rest of the team and the company then donates the same amount to a good cause.

It is giving its Angels the chance to donate as much as they like from a splash out three course meal to cheese and toast. A £20 donation is enough to feed one child at the soup kitchen for a year.

Naked's Eamon FitzGerald felt morally obliged to help raise money for the soup kitchen

Naked's Eamon FitzGerald felt morally obliged to help raise money for the soup kitchen

Eamon FitzGerald, Naked's managing director, explains why it was keen to help out: "When Carmen told me about the poverty near Stellenbosch, and her soup kitchen which ran out of funds, we felt a moral obligation to get involved! It costs £300 to feed our office one lunch - for the same price Carmen could feed 500 kids twice a week for a whole month. So we gave Carmen the £300 and she set up her soup kitchen again - there was barely a dry eye at HQ when she sent us the photos."

He added: "It got us thinking… we have over 150,000 Angels in the UK, can we club together and make a difference on an even bigger scale? It costs £20 to feed a school child for an entire year - which is the same amount as an Angel monthly contribution. So we’re giving up the cost of our lunch today, and asking our Angels to do the same."

Stevens explains why there is such a need for help: “In the Western Cape, were the Winelands are situated the unemployment rate is at 25.5%. The kids are the ones that suffer the most because of this situation. A hungry child struggles to concentrate in class, they visit the school nurse with daily headaches and stomach aches, some even faint, it is just so sad. A known fact is that the weight of a child falls from Friday to Monday because of the lack of food over a weekend.”

If you would like to join in and donate some money then go to the dedicated area of the Naked Wines website.  You will have to register to take part and then click on the BUY NOW sign to place a donation.



Casillero del Diablo's new James Bond-style  “Legend” TV campaign

Have you had chance yet to go and see Spectre, the new James Bond film? If not then here’s something to get you in the mood.

The new TV advert for Chilean wine brand, Casillero del Diablo, must be one of the biggest budget wine ads ever created as it takes viewers on a glamorous trip around the world taking in Venice, Bucharest, Vietnam and, of course, Chile along the way.

The ad is a follow up to the Wine Legend campaign that was first shown in 2013 that told wine drinkers all about the so called legend of the devil that lurks in the Casillero del Diablo cellars and protects the wine.

The global campaign has been used in all 135 countries where the wine is sold and has helped the brand become a Top 10 selling wine in the UK with sales up 35% by value in the last year.

Here's  reminder of what the original TV ad looked like that came out in 2013. 



Restaurant investors to raise £3.5m for London street food market  

Jonathan Downey, left, and Henry Dimbleby are looking to crowdfunding to set up London's first permanent street food market 

Jonathan Downey, left, and Henry Dimbleby are looking to crowdfunding to set up London's first permanent street food market 

If you love your food and drink then here is a chance to gain a small part in what claims will be the world’s biggest food market in central London.

The people behind the already successful Street Feast project which invests in a series of street food pop up sites in the capital now hopes to raise 3.5 million in a crowdfunding scheme to help build London Union, which will be a permanent street food market situated in central London.

The project has already attracted a host of big names. Street Feast itself was set up by restaurant and bar entrepreneurs Henry Dimbleby of the Leon chain and Jonathan Downey the man behind many of London’s most fashionable bars including Milk & Honey. It only started in May and has already held four pop up markets across London, involving 60 different food and drink providers, 29 bars which attracted 300,000 visitors and generated sales of £3.5 million and attracting 300,000 online visitors.

It has plans by 2020 to expand the Street Feast model to 12 markets, with some 200 trader pitchers, 100 bars, 4 million visitors and an online audience of 3 million.

The London Union project is backed by a distinguished advisory board of founder investors, including Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver, Yotam Ottolenghi, Russell Norman from the Polpo Group, Soho House’s Nick Jones, as well as a number of food writers and restaurant critics.

As well as running 12 local markets across London, London Union wants to create the world’s greatest food market.

Anyone supporting the scheme will become “Union Members” and be able to sit on the advisory board, take part in the company’s “Annual General Eating” as well as join in other London Union events.

Downey said of the scheme: “We founded London Union to transform London’s food landscape, turning underused and derelict corners of the city into vibrant street food markets.”

Dimbleby added: “Although only five months old, London Union is already very profitable. This profitability enables us to open commercially-sustainable markets that bring communities together, create employment and provide opportunities for new food entrepreneurs to establish themselves without requiring large amounts of capital. We are doing this fundraising so we can move fast to open the world-class, permanent street food market that London deserves.”

The crowdfunding is being run by Seedrs. To get more information or invest go to the dedicated London Union site.



Why local is best when it comes to dining out, says new study

"Here's a written apology from the chef..." Not all local eateries are as eventful as this one...

"Here's a written apology from the chef..." Not all local eateries are as eventful as this one...

Despite the avalanche of new chain restaurants opening on high streets every day it seems nothing quite beats a night out at the local, friendly independent restaurant down the road, according to new research released today.

Up to 49% of Brits said they prefer eating out a local independent than going to a high street name in the poll conducted by VoucherCodes.co.uk. What’s more a further 34% said they also favoured independent pubs and cafes. All of which means the independent restaurant sector is now worth £1.1billion a year.

The results are also an indication that the economy is improving with people reporting they are eating our more now than they did five years ago, visiting local independent restaurants, cafes, pubs and delis on average five times a month.

National chains are also benefiting with 19% of those surveyed saying they also eat out more in them than they did five years ago.

The research also found that:

  • over half (51%) prefer to spend their money locally
  • one in five believe local restaurants have the highest quality food
  • 26% say they prefer the health benefits of eating fresh, locally-sourced produce.
  • 35% enjoy the personal level of service they can get from a local restaurant and the fact staff know their favourite dishes and preferred tables.

People are also happy to spend more in local restaurants.

  • the average spend in an independent restaurant is £28 a head compared to £20 in a national chain.
  • Scottish diners are particularly keen on local restaurants with 64% saying it was their number one choice when eating out.
  • this is followed by the North West (60 per cent) and Northern Ireland (57 per cent).
  • Londoners are more likely than any other region to opt for a convenient chain outlet, with 19% per cent choosing them as their favourite places to eat out.

The survey also looked at the choice of food when eating out and found:

  • British food such as fish and chips were the most popular amongst 31% of diners
  • Italian food (24%) was second followed by Indian (16%) and Chinese (12%) and Mexican (4%).

The research was commissioned as part of VoucherCodes.co.uk new link up with the Hi-Life Diners Club that works with restaurants to offer special offers and discounts to its members.


What your favourite biscuit says about you?

Did you have biscuit with your elevenses this morning? Chances are what you chose to eat will be based on where you live in the country, according to a new Waitrose poll.

It has found that the popularity of biscuits varies enormously from region to region around the country

.In Yorkshire, for example, you are more likely to turn to a Custard Cream or Bourbon. In Scotland it would be a Tunnock’s Tea Cake, whilst in the North East, chocolate biscuit bars and ginger nuts are the most popular.

In the North West it is chocolate digestives and in Central England a nice malted milk is what people tend to choose to go with a cup of tea.

McVitie’s has gone a step further and even worked out the personality traits of different biscuit eaters.

Digestive lovers, for example, think they are “fun loving” and like watching TV soaps like Hollyoaks. Milke Chocolate digestive eaters prefer Coronation Street and holidays in Spain.

Rich Tea lovers are a bit more discerning on the travel front and head to Paris for the weekend, but at home are quite happy sitting down to an episode of The Only Way is Essex.

If you are female like Adele, Russell Brand, live in the North West and want to go on holiday to Japan then you are most likely to be eating Ginger nuts.