Odette’s finds a new social purpose – and name – as Home Kitchen

Odette’s in Primrose Hill is to be reborn as Home Kitchen, a social enterprise fine-dining restaurant staffed by homeless people, under the direction of executive chef Adam Simmonds (centre in picture).

Odette’s closed down suddenly at the end of May after a run of almost 50 years as one of London’s best-known and most atmospheric venues. In recent years it has been run by chef-patron Bryn Williams.

Home Kitchen will provide jobs for an initial group of 16 homeless people, recruited by partner agencies Beam, Soup Kitchen London, Change Please, Beyond Food Foundation and The Passage. They will be on full-time contracts paying above the London Living Wage, with travel expenses and training added.

Adam says, “Home Kitchen will be an accelerant out of poverty for our recruits and an incubator of untapped talent for the catering industry. The restaurant business is an ideal vehicle for our social impact because if you can change perceptions in this world, then you can do it in any other walk of life.

Adam trained at Le Gavroche and furthered his skills at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons before running the kitchen at Ynyshir Hall in Wales and then Danesfield House near Marlow.

He has devised a seven-course tasting meal for Home Kitchen, having been involved with the project for two years. The original plan was to launch it as a pop-up in Victoria on the back of a £450,000 crowdfunding campaign.

All profits from Home Kitchen will be channelled into expanding the project into other cities with significant homeless populations, with Brighton already targeted for the second restaurant. Further afield, talks are already under way with US-based backers for a similar project in San Francisco.

The opening date for Home Kitchen has yet to be announced.

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