This Chef Plans To Cycle 360km To Raise Funds For His Staff
As we all know, South Africa’s restaurant industry has been hard hit by the COVID-19 national shutdown. Various restaurants have had to get creative in thinking about ways to stay afloat and to assist their staff, with many appealing to the public to purchase vouchers for use once lockdown lifts. One restaurant group has gone a few steps further. Last month, the Marble Group, with renowned chef David Higgs at its helm, announced the establishment of a Staff Support Fund where all funds from the sale of David’s book, Mile 8: A book about cooking, will go to their staff fund. Incredibly, the team has raised R150 000 so far.
Now, the award-winning chef and avid cyclist is taking it even further.
Chef David Higgs will be tackling a 360km ultra-endurance virtual cycle, starting at 15h00 on Friday, 24 April 2020, with the aim of raising awareness for the staff fund.
He is hoping to sell one book per kilometer we ride: “We have such an incredible team at Marble and Saint – they bring the restaurants to life every day, and now it’s our turn to support them,” David explains. David was due to cycle the now cancelled 2020 Absa Cape Epic along with teammates from Team Saint – Cherise Willeit, Nicky Gilliomee and Stuart Johnston, and it is with fellow Team Saint member, Stuart Johnston that David will ride the virtual cycle. “Although initially I wasn’t keen to take up Stuart’s invitation to ride the virtual event, I realised that it would be a great opportunity for me to raise funds for my staff – one kilometer, one book sold.”
The Marble Group, founded by David and his business partner Gary Kyriacou, made the decision to close both Marble and Saint restaurants on 16 March in response to COVID-19 and government’s call for social distancing. Since then, the staff from both restaurants have been unable to work.
Despite the Cape Epic cancellation, David has remained fit during lockdown using his stationary smart trainer and the Zwift cycling app to ride daily.
He has also grown his Instagram following, showing a fun quirkier side with his “#whatsinyourfridge” challenge and daily master class cooking demo’s.
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“Marble and Saint have an incredible following, and we are so grateful for the support we have already received for our fund,” David says. “By signing up to this virtual challenge, I hope to appeal to a whole new market and add to the fund.”
With over 90 dishes and 150 recipes influenced by the journey of Higgs’ career, Mile 8 is a culinary adventure bringing together the unique and interesting flavours of Southern Africa. Impala Tartare, Snoek & Apricot, Amadumbe & Chakalaka, and his version of the classic Malva Pudding are just some of the delights to be found in this wonderfully illustrated book. The book is available for purchase via the Marble website. The book costs R400, with all proceeds going to the fund.
“My mountain bike performance coach, Dr Mike Postumus, thinks I can finish in around 15 hours, which is a good goal for me,” David adds, “But we’ll see on the day – follow me on Instagram to find out.”