Belfast Telegraph

Chef to open pop-up diner to cook meals for homeless at Christmas

By Victoria Leonard

A chef plans to provide a Michelin-standard Christmas feast for 150 homeless people in Belfast city centre.

Nathan Snoddon (25) says he wants to create a pop-up restaurant for the less fortunate as a leaving gift to his native land, before taking up a role as a senior Chef de Partie in the new London restaurant of Michelin-starred chef Ollie Dabbous.

After revealing his idea for the generous gesture on social media, Nathan, who is from Lisburn, says he has been inundated with offers of food and help from people and businesses wanting to support the less fortunate during the festive season.

"I trained in Michelin restaurants, and I want to provide a hearty, warm, Michelin-standard meal for 150 homeless people which shows them that people care," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I recently hosted another pop-up restaurant to demonstrate local produce in Comber, but it's the first time that I have done anything like this for charity.

"I am hoping to hold an open-air pop up restaurant in Custom House Square the week before Christmas, and I want to offer the people who come a really good experience, as well as a really good meal."

With his background in the catering industry, Nathan has been able to enlist a team of volunteers.

"I have been inundated with offers of help - I've got quite a few chefs and friends who are going to help me cook, and I will co-ordinate the operation," he explained. "I have been in touch with the Welcome Organisation to identify the people who would benefit most from this.

"The SOS Bus will be coming down, and I am hoping to borrow a few gazebos to put in the square.

"The band The Russian Dolls, who have supported Nathan Carter, will perform and there will be acoustic guitar players. There will be a great atmosphere."

Nathan, who has worked at restaurants in London, the Republic of Ireland, Australia and Asia, says he plans to spend a night on the streets of Belfast to better understand the problems faced by homeless people.

"I hope to speak to a number of homeless people, to hear their stories and to raise awareness," he continued. "A lot of people take for granted the fact that they can go home and have a good, warm meal with their families, but even in Northern Ireland today that isn't always the case. People don't always realise what's going on in their own town. It's upsetting that homelessness is still such a problem in Northern Ireland in 2017."

Nathan says that he hopes his pop-up restaurant will "give hope" to those most in need.

"If you can just make someone smile for one day or night you may give them hope," he continued.

"I am really looking forward to the event, I'm just buzzing.

"The more people who are involved the better - we are looking for volunteers to serve meals and to provide a listening ear.

"I am a little fish in a big pond, but I am trying to make a small difference."

To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/good-food-for-a-better-cause. To volunteer, contact Nathan on 07809176734

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