Inspiring local women honoured by Enfield food charity at special gala dinner

Cooking Champions held the event in Ponders End to coincide with International Women’s Day

Cooking Champions celebrates International Women's Day
Attendees at Inspiring Women’s Gala Dinner held by Cooking Champions

Cooking Champions held a special fundraising event and celebration dinner for International Women’s Day last week.

The Ponders End-based food charity, which is led by a team of four women, invited guests to St Matthew’s Church Hall, which was transformed for the event into “an enchanting dining space”.

The ‘Inspiring Women’s Gala Dinner’ was sponsored by travel company Echo Bravo and brought together a diverse gathering of over 70 attendees who were treated to a four-course dinner by chefs Dominique Woolf, Melissa Thompson, Thuy Pham, and Georgina Hayden, along with drinks, entertainment and a special awards ceremony.

During the event Cooking Champions honoured 14 local women for their “exemplary contributions” to North London communities. These inspirational women were nominated by the public and selected by an all-female panel. They included Candice McDonald, the visionary founder of the child poverty charity BASE; Ema Mortimer, a compassionate foster parent to children in Haringey for over 25 years; Tilly Ann Martin, the dedicated founder of homeless charity The Little Things; and Rosie Hurndall, founder of Help for Hunger.

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Reflecting on her award win, Rosie said: “I’m completely overwhelmed. We’re a team, and this award is on behalf of us all. It’s an honour and a privilege to play a small part in the wonderful community we have.”

Cooking Champions runs a community kitchen, providing support to approximately 250 individuals each week through essential services such as a foodbank, community lunches, and complimentary cooking lessons. Beyond honouring local trailblazers, the gala successfully raised funds of just over £10,000 to sustain and expand the critical, in-demand services offered by Cooking Champions.

Clare Donovan, founder of Cooking Champions, said: “We had an incredible night at the gala dinner. It was such a pleasure to host four amazing female chefs in the beautiful settings of St Matthew’s Church. For a community to thrive, we know that teamwork is essential and we were honoured to be joined by many inspirational women who are making a positive difference in the lives of others.

“As part of our International Women’s Day celebrations we invited them to take centre stage, highlighting and elevating their impactful contributions to the community.”

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