Early on Monday February 15th, fire severely damaged the kitchens at Mugaritz, the world-famous restaurant in Spain's Basque Country. Luckily, no-one was hurt. For the management and staff of Mugaritz, the destruction of their workplace was a tragedy. But for three other young people, this was also a calamity.
Stagières are unpaid apprentices, usually young, without whom no top restaurant can function. Driven by a common passion to learn from the world's best chefs, they travel from all corners of the globe to train at world-class restaurants. When the dust settled on Mugaritz after last Monday's inflagration, Mattias from Sweden, Diego from Guatemala and Greg from the US found themselves without their most valued possessions. Their precious knife sets, not covered by the restaurant's insurance, had been incinerated. Read Greg's story here.
Fellow food blogger Aidan Brooks of Aidan Brooks: Trainee Chef, his father Mike Green and I are setting up a special transatlantic fund to help them recover from their combined $2,500 losses and re-equip themselves for work. As Aidan says, "This is something I understand well - two and a half years ago I set off for Spain as a novice stagière myself. It's taken me years to put together my knife set, so I know exactly how devastated these lads must feel." Can you please help with a personal pledge? Donations will be so welcome, no matter how large or small. Email me at docsconz[at]gmail.com at with your pledge and we'll get back to you with details of exactly how you can contribute to the fund. Would food bloggers please copy part or all of this post and publish similar appeals. Together we can make so much difference to a group of people who really deserve our support.
Update: Please see here for details on how you can donate through firstgiving or Paypal.