In lockdown London, Clare Smyth and Eggslut donate 4,000 burgers to health workers

Giulia Sgarbi - 26/01/2021

With restaurants and bars in the English capital closed for the foreseeable future while the country grapples with new coronavirus variants, former World’s Best Female Chef Clare Smyth of Core finds a new way to give back to local hospitals

Although the announcement of a third national lockdown in England from 4th January left chefs and restaurateurs uncertain about when they’ll be able to reopen, many are once again showing the spirit of hospitality that makes these venues such a crucial part of our culture. Last week, in London’s Notting Hill neighbourhood, an unlikely partnership saw 4,000 National Health Service staff receive a burger created by none other than the official caterer for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding, whose venue became the latest three-starred restaurant in the UK just yesterday.

Having already opened her restaurant’s kitchen during the first lockdown to cook 600 meals a week for charities and local hospitals, this time award-winning chef Clare Smyth joined forces with Core’s loyal producers and nearby venue Eggslut to support local hospitals via the University College London Hospitals Charity between 18th and 20th January.

Smyth, who was named The World’s Best Female Chef 2018, created the recipe for the ‘Big Thank You Burger’ after her Scotland-based supplier Highland Wagyu offered to donate 4,000 beef patties. The chef was previously using the company’s meat in her fine dining creation ‘beef and oyster’, a dish inspired by the English Victorian-era preparation of beef, oyster and Irish stout pie.
A health worker pictured with his 'Big Thank You Burger'; Smyth's beef and oyster dish

She highlights that the Core team have long been fans of Eggslut, a Los Angeles-based gourmet food brand that first launched in the UK in 2019 serving burgers, salads and egg specialities such as the ‘Slut’ – a coddled egg served on potato purée and served with warm baguette slices. With Eggslut having the capacity to deliver the meals to local public hospitals, the partnership seemed a natural fit.

“We have come together with our friends from Eggslut to create the Big Thank You Burger as a gesture to show our gratitude to the NHS and frontline workers,” says Smyth. “They are struggling and we need them more than ever. This is our way of recognising their hard work and commitment. We really appreciate all that they are doing and cannot thank them enough.”

As well as wagyu beef patties, the ‘Big Thank You Burger’ created by Smyth features buns made locally by Bread Ahead Bakery and horseradish mayonnaise. The food parcels also included Eggslut’s signature sandwich ‘Fairfax’ with scrambled eggs, caramelised onions and cheese, and were served in environmentally friendly packaging donated by Jenpack.
Spreading gratefulness across London's hospitals through burgers

“It’s been a tough time in the hospitality business, but we wanted to come together and show our appreciation for those supporting the nation through this difficult period in the way we know best: delicious burgers,” says Bruno Pires, Eggslut’s executive chef and operations manager.

With two London branches in Notting Hill and Fitzrovia, Eggslut remains open for delivery and collection. Earlier this month, Smyth launched her own ‘Core at Home’ experience, a full menu for two people priced at £175pp ($239) delivered with the chef’s own step-by-step videos.

The University College London Hospitals Charity’s Covid 19 appeal is accepting further donations for hospital staff. For more information, visit the website.

Images courtesy of Eggslut and Core by Clare Smyth. 

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