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Food, music, community and the tories; a few thoughts

Posted by: Chris

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Happy new year to you all, I hope Christmas proved to be a relaxing and happy time for you. At home we’ve made our first snowman with Ella (my daughter), I’ve drunk probably a bit more whisky and eaten more than normal and managed to take the best part of a week without dipping into doing any Blend Kitchen work for the first time in a long time. The time off has definitely given me time to re-charge and focus ahead of 2021.

Just before Christmas, my right hand man Justin provided me with a good metaphor of the role Blend Kitchen plays in society. Blend Kitchen is basically an ark for people who want to escape the storm of life and have the opportunity to create a better future for themselves and those they care about most.

Just over 4 years ago I chose to leave a job where I was struggling with my mental health and I had caused damage to the relationships with those closest to me. I had a daughter on the way and I knew I needed to change something. This is fundamentally why I made the decision to start Blend Kitchen. Many of the people we now employ and provide support to have escaped far worse than me. What is evident to me is that the sense of value people gain from cooking an amazing plate of food or performing a piece of live music should be celebrated.

Food matters because it celebrates our cultures, community and helps us forge memories with those that matter most to us. From fish and chips at  The Magpie in Whitby with my wife and daughter to the time I took some of the Blend Kitchen team to one of our Ambassadors, David Moore’s legendary Michelin starred restaurant Pied e Terre , the happiness food can generate is incredible.

 

Music matters because of the emotions and memories it generates. Me and Caz (aka Mrs Hanson) wouldn’t be together if we didn’t have a love for Brit Pop legends Ocean Colour Scene. It was a common talking point when I started chatting her up about 20 years ago now. We’ve seen them multiple times  and the experience of seeing live music is something that’s become increasingly important at Blend Kitchen. Also, the time my mate Turner introduced me to ‘Midnight Organ Fight’ EP by Scottish band, Frightened Rabbit. The resonance of the late Scott Hutchinson’s lyrics move me to this day and remind me why keeping the Blend kitchen ark afloat continues to matter. Check out Tiny Changes, the mental health charity started by Scott’s brother after his suicide here.

Our patron, Richard Hawley’s music matters to me also. I love the song (Wading Through) The Waters of My Time from ‘Coles Corner’ album.  The lines “don’t look for me“, ” don’t search for me“, “don’t reach for me” remind me of the fallible nature of our humanity and the need to remain humble. While our  Eton educated politicians will rarely (if ever) provide  us with the solutions many of us yearn for, 2020 highlighted the need to maintain a modicum of humility and perspective more than ever  . The treatment of live music, the arts and hospitality businesses during 2020 has highlighted the disregard with which they are viewed by them. This week government have closed schools, I wonder how many of them were on the school run prior to lockdown ?

Looking ahead to 2021, we’re focused on what we can control. We’ll be opening the new site as a gourmet deli/bakery/patisserie in the coming weeks (sneak peak of the draft menu here!!) ahead of opening to as a restaurant and events space in the spring.

Chris