Summer 2012 saw the people of Great Britain get together in living rooms, pubs, open-air screenings and street parties across the country to cheer on our athletes; how apt, then, that the first café to open at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in July is the Unity Kitchen Café, which boasts several other sites across London.
Set to open in phases between July 2013 and spring 2014, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be a whole new part of the city to explore, with four permanent cafés, state-of-the-art venues and attractions, homes, schools, businesses and green open spaces – plus, of course, the sporting venues used for the games themselves.
The Unity Kitchen Café will be in the north of the park – featuring beautiful green parklands, meadows and the waterways of the River Lea – at the newly built Timberlodge, with space for 80 diners inside and a further 100 outside. It will be operated by The Camden Society – a social enterprise that will use the money you spend to create jobs and apprenticeships for people with disabilities – and will also boast two community rooms to be run by Community Links. Gerald Oppenheim, chairman of The Camden Society, said:
‘The combination of this beautifully designed café and flexible community space will provide a great place to relax and eat and drink, with everything from community classes, to yoga sessions, to training seminars, business breakfasts, weddings and parties.
‘We aim to make the most of the training and employment opportunities which the café will offer to people with disabilities, as it will be an additional venue for in-work training of our apprentices.’
As a permanent venue, the café will be required to sign up to the Food Legacy Pledge, which requires employers to pay the London living wage, provide good food training and to source food from sustainable and Fairtrade suppliers where possible. Rosie Boycott, the Mayor of London’s food advisor and the chairwoman of the London Food Board, sums up the café’s dedication to quality:
‘London’s Games raised the bar in terms of serving up food that met high standards, not only in terms of taste but also through a commitment to improved food quality and animal welfare. This showed that good catering can be achieved even when working to tight commercial budgets.
‘I am delighted that visitors to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s Unity Kitchen Café will continue to enjoy tasty grub served up by a company that’s committed to providing good food.’
Keeping the community spirit of last summer’s games alive, the Unity Kitchen Café is a place for both locals and tourists alike to enjoy great food and drink, and at the same time help out a worthy social enterprise. That certainly gets a gold medal from us.