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Unity Kitchen Cafe to serve up glorious food legacy

Unity Kitchen stakeholders at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park site

L-R: Mackalay Mansaray, apprentice at Unity Kitchen St Luke's; Amy McParland, Social Enterprise Services Manager; Gerald
Oppenheim, Chair of the Camden Society; Geraldine Blake, Chief Executive of
Community Links

With the lease signed and plans underway, we’re extremely pleased that Unity Kitchen will open its next branch right in the heart of the newly redeveloped Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

One year on from the start of the 2012 Olympics, the new café – the first on the Park - will open to the public on 27 July. So, with just three months to go, we’re busy sourcing the best ingredients, recruiting the next Unity crew and planning for what is set to be a very grand opening.

Nestled within the new North Park, a natural area full of wildlife, meadows and waterways, we hope the cafe will become a favourite stop for everyone who visits the Park. Set in a great spot, right next to a spectacular adventure playground and with mountain bike trails nearby, the cafe will cater to all appetites. From weekend brunch to summer milkshakes and delicious picnic packs, the menu will include traditional cafe favourites and foodie surprises too.

As a permanent site in the Park, Unity Kitchen Café will sign up to the Food Legacy Pledge and Healthier Catering Commitment. This means we will pay the London Living Wage, provide good food training, aim to reduce saturated fat, sugar and salt and source ingredients from sustainable and fair trade suppliers where possible. Rosie Boycott, Mayor of London’s Food Advisor and Chairwoman of the London Food Board said, “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.”

The new cafe is currently being built. It will seat up to 200 people and will combine a smart event space available for hire to local groups, businesses and for private parties and celebrations. As Camden Society Chair, Gerald Oppenheim said “Unity Kitchen Café will contribute to the creation of a new and vibrant public space in the heart of east London. The combination of this beautifully designed café and flexible community space will provide a great place to relax, eat and drink with everything from community classes, to yoga sessions, to training seminars, business breakfasts, weddings and parties.”

We’re looking forward to working with others in and around the Park. Our main partner, local organisation Community Links will not only help us promote the venue but will support us to run healthy eating and food growing projects too. Geraldine Blake, Community Links’ Chief Executive said: "We are delighted to be part of this exciting project. We look forward to making sure Unity Kitchen Café is a fantastic resource for our local community as well as a destination for visitors from around the world."

Importantly, the café will give our catering apprentices an extra training venue and will create several jobs for people with disabilities in east London. By getting to know our neighbours, we hope to create even more job opportunities for people within other local businesses too. As Dennis Hone, Chief Executive, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park said, “The Camden Society and Community Links will create a great new facility in the Unity Kitchen Café and provide jobs and training opportunities for local people.”

The cafe will open with a bang on 27 July when 40,000 visitors are expected to visit the Park. We’d love you to join us and bring your family and friends for a wonderful day out, to get the first glimpse of our brand new cafe, and meet some new Society people on their first day at work. Look out for an invite to our own launch party too. We’ll be hosting a celebration in September with everyone welcome!