“Social involvement is part of our religion, but we don’t make much noise. We do it because we believe in it.”
We are delighted to present Cyrus Todiwala OBE and his Cafe Spice Namaste restaurant which is synonymous with Corporate Social Responsibility. Over the last two decades, Cyrus has made strides in making significant contributions which make a difference to the societies and communities in which they operate and live in.
Making an impact:
- Cyrus has endeavoured to activity address the skills gap, particularly in the ethnic/Asian cuisine sector by running the “Zest Quest” programme. This aims to enthuse, train and develop British youth to take an active role in becoming skilled ethnic chefs for the future.
- Environment and sustainable practice:
- Promoting local farmers
- Enthusing children in schools towards farming
- Contributing towards regenerating honey bees under significant threat of extinction
- Working with The Clink Charity in bringing former prisoners into chef positions and integrating back into society. Upon release they face a significant challenge in getting into work and are taught life skills such as cooking and serving by the charity.
CSR Zest Quest Asia
- 10,000 restaurants offering Asian cuisine in the UK
- Asian food sector is worth some £3bn
- Zest Quest equip young chefs with the skills and knowledge for a career in Asian cookery
- Prominent culinary institutions involved
- Winners go on culinary tours to India and Sri Lanka
Photo credit –Nitin Kapoor.
Cyrus is a fine example of someone who truly believes in making a difference for a meaningful future. As well as the competition and ambassador roles he is looking at how to promote British seafood which is currently exported rather than consumed here. E.g. Cuttlefish, Octopus, Clams and Langoustines. He is also creating an edible classroom, partnering with local bee keepers and much more.
Cyrus would be the first to argue that all of this ‘Social Good’ activity is simply just going beyond the ordinary to make a positive difference. In his eyes he is committed to caring for the world we live in. It can be argued Cyrus is an environmentalist and pioneer of the sustainability movement but he is openly a passionate chef who wants others to stand up and make a difference too.
It is nothing new for him, his restaurant Cafe Space Namaste was likely the first Indian restaurant in the UK to have introduced an animal welfare policy. The restaurants achievements in the sphere of ethical procurement, provenance and traceability are pioneering.
Cyrus’s passionate never ceases and the 5th Zest Quest Asia Finals recently took place in mid-February this year. The winning team have been awarded a trip to Vietnam to discover and learn their culture and cuisine.