What if someone told you you can enjoy a fabulous 3 course meals prepared specifically to your dietary requirements, receive service with a beaming smile and bags of chat, in a sparkling setting, all whilst contributing to a trully worthwhile charitable cause. Well that’s exactly what Fat Macey’s are offering in their latest series of events, aimed at helping young people in London overcome barriers which have forced them into homelessness. We walked into the Printworks Kitchen and was greeted with a sea of smiles and lovely introductions from the restaurant staff, with the beautifully set tables and perfect candle lighting, I couldn’t think of anywhere better to spend my pre Christmas meal with the bestie.
Infectiously warm with what you could tell was a genuine love of his job, we instantly loved our waiter Kenny, who I later found out became homeless and moved into the YMCA after a long term relationship came to an end. After a bit of banter about our nightmare getting there and how much we needed a drink, he returned with a couple of G + T’s innovatively garnished with a slice of lime and orange and a sprig of rosemary. The table looked fantastic and the individually named place settings not only acted as a functional floor plan, but gave our seating an added personalised touch. After a few minutes catching up with my dinner guest and a lovely introduction from founder and North London YMCA volunteer Meg Doherty, our first course was served, a rich roast garlic and potato soup, with parsley and capers to finish it off. Deliciously creamy and instantly warming. Still raving about our first course, we were asked whether we wanted the meat or vegetarian main. Both veggie’s, we opted for the mushroom, watercress and mushroom pie, finished off with some lovely Christmas trimmings. Let me tell you as a veggie in an Australian meat eating family, christmas roasts have always been a bit of a sore subject area. I usually have to settle with a plate of potatoes and a raw carrot thrown in for a joke, but this was definitely one of those rare occasions where having the meat free Christmas meal option was complete winner. A perfectly crisped crust and creamy mushroom filling accompanied the crumbly chestnuts exactly, with the greens adding in a bit of a finishing crunch.
Having finished our main and already excited about our dessert, we had the chance to chat to Meg to ask her a bit more about exactly how the charity works. Now in its third series, Fat Macy’s works with young people living in temporary accommodation across London, enabling them to gain credits which are paid into a secure deposit fund, which is held until they have saved enough for a deposit. Alongside increasing personal savings, Fat Macy’s staff are trained in vital skills for independent living: food hygiene, cooking, financial planning, curating and running events and practical work experience. This means that once the series is complete, not only do they have the funds to go into permanent housing, but also the experience and qualifications to enable them to get a job to keep them there. No christmas meal is complete without a decadent dessert, and the chef certainly didn’t disappoint. Not usually a trifle fan, the creamy quince truffle was exceptionally moorish and we found ourselves not speaking and simply mmmm’ing through the duration of our final course. Suitably stuffed and somewhat sleepy from a mixture of red wine and food coma, we decided it best to make a move, but not before a lovely thank you for coming announcement from the wonderful Kenny and a round of applause for the amazing team who had orchestrated the event. Going over to thank our amazing hosts, it was trully heart warming to meet such a fantastic group of people, who despite experiencing hard times which many of us will never have to go through, were so full of joy to be involved in this beautiful scheme.
To book tickets for Fat Macy’s Christmas special pop-up, visit www.fatmacys.org or email Meg Doherty at firstname.lastname@example.org
£30 per head for a 3 course meal and welcome drink.
To Read Kenny’s Story – www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-tKMoI3Upk
Written by Jordan Crowley