AN annual cook-off fundraising event run by business law firm Baines Wilson has now raised more than £77,000 for Cumbrian charities over the years.

Kitchen Rivals sees eight-strong teams from Baines Wilson and Barclays cook and serve a three-course meal to 90 guests who each pay what they feel the meal was worth. The team that raises the most wins.

The lawyers triumphed at this year’s event at Lake District Hotels’ Lodore Falls Hotel and Spa, in Borrowdale, which raised £13,600 for Cumbria Community Foundation, Carlisle Eden Mind and Jigsaw, Cumbria’s children’s hospice.

Joanne Holborn, employment partner at Baines Wilson, who led the legal team serving the food, said: "Kitchen Rivals is always challenging but it’s very entertaining. Our guests really enjoy seeing us out of our comfort zone.

"There was a great buzz in the room as there always is. It was a fantastic night and we raised a lot of money for local charities."
Kitchen Rivals, first held in 2016, was making a welcome return after the 2020 and 2021 events were cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

News and Star: Smiles all round at Kitchen RivalsSmiles all round at Kitchen Rivals (Image: INTROPR)

Mark Harris, group executive chef at Lake District Hotels, devised the menu while James Watts and David McGill – head chefs at the Inn on the Lake and Lodore Falls respectively – oversaw the kitchens where a live TV feed allowed diners to watch on screen as their meal was prepared by teams from Baines Wilson and Barclays.

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Guests arriving for the black-tie dinner were given a welcome drink and canapés – pigs in blankets, a shrimp cocktail and cheese and onion beignets – before an introduction to the teams and presentations from the charities. 

Dani Hope, a director of Lake District hotels, said: “The food was fantastic. Both teams did a really good job and everybody had a great night.

"It has been months and months in the planning. From our point of view it is quite intense because our hotel teams are involved to oversee and ensure that everything is executed to an excellent standard.

"It all went really well, very smoothly with no hitches.”

The evening ended with a raffle and an auction. Items included a glamping break, a tour of M-Sport’s facility at Dovenby, and an ‘ultimate’ two-night stay in a premium suite at the Lodore Falls including the loan of a Porsche.

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