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Continuing our mission + changing times

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Continuing our mission + changing times

Simon Boyle

I’m continuing to feel frustrated that people not only become homeless but stay homeless. I’ve been relooking at why we started Beyond Food and realise the need for us to continue on our mission to support the homeless community. Part of this is the new look Brigade, which has recently opened.

I’m ashamed by our governments one size - fits all Universal Credit System that is very difficult to navigate. Especially if you are a vulnerable person with complex issues and I recognise and understand what we have built is a structured system that successfully helps fragile people get into full-time employment in a well-supported, professionally trained and sustainable way. It is still very much needed in the current unbalanced world we live in.

For those new to my blog. Beyond Food is the Charity and Community Interest Company I set up. We opened our own social enterprise restaurant Brigade which not only provides profit but also real training in a live hospitality business. Next year we will be 8 years old, I can’t believe it.

To be honest having a social enterprise restaurant means we should run it like a normal for-profit business. We just use our profit or surplus to help others. We have now successfully supported and trained well over one thousand homeless people and directly employed over 120 behind the kitchen pass at Brigade.

But at the start of the year, we did decid that Brigade was looking tired and the competition is growing all around us. It was time to re-invest and so we set about re-imagining what Brigade could be.  

In September, we closed our doors to our loyal customers and set about the practical changes we had planned. The whole ground floor was stripped out completely and we built a brand new bar, kitchen and restaurant space.

New banquet seating in front of the kitchen

New banquet seating in front of the kitchen

Whilst doing this, we took time to realign the entire team. We have a new General Manager Jon Cannon and Head Chef Pete Denhart. Both guys have worked together prior to starting at Brigade. They have developed their teams and I am pleased to say they are now a well-oiled machine.

We have not only re-imagined the space but also the menu. Taking Pete’s passion for smoking and grilling on real sustainable wood from the local area. He focuses heavily on the quality of the produce. Buying direct from outstanding food producers such as Philip Warren in Cornwall  Philip’s beef is quite incredible with extended hanging/ageing time and we are dry ageing it even further in Brigades own Himalayan salt dry ager. 

About the only thing that hasn’t changed is our social impact ambitions. We continue our pursuit to support, train and employ some of London’s most vulnerable. In fact, the changes we have made helps us to expand our capacity to work with even more people that have lost the thread of life.

On Monday 26th November we will launch our new 2019 Apprenticeships programmes ‘United Kitchen and OutFront’. Both 24-month training programmes that inspire futures beyond homelessness in both kitchen and front of house duties. 

So, I urge you to come and savour the flavour and inspiration at our new look Brigade with service that that makes you feel you are at home with our offerings and social impact ambitions.

Burnt onions with charred courgettes and garlic yogurt

Burnt onions with charred courgettes and garlic yogurt

Brigade is now open every day and from breakfast, lunch through to dinner.  You can book on the Brigade website.

Lastly, we are now concentrating on the new look first floor and its new uniquely designed chefs table experience. Taking our customers on a journey of what we are trying to do socially as unfortunately homelessness is increasing.

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