By Jo Cooksey & Rachael Forster
As well as editing two blogs, I have a full-time day job. I work for Shoot The Moon, a digital design and photography agency, in Ancoats, Manchester. The majority of our clients are in the food and drink and hospitality industries but a few, such as the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity, are not.
For the past few years the charity has run the Many Hands campaign, which challenges businesses to fundraise through innovative initiatives. This year the funds will support The Children’s and Adolescent Mental Health Service at the Hospital. High-profile entrepreneur Theo Paphitis, of Dragons Den fame, is supporting the campaign for the seventh year running.
We love the charity and are in awe of everything they do, so this year we decided to join in with the Many Hands campaign ourselves. First, we had to come up with a fundraising idea to pitch to Theo. We wanted to do something that would make use of our skills and talents to ensure that we could raise the £1000 required to qualify for the pitch. This is how the recipe book came about.
We Formulate A Plan
We formed a committee with a member of staff from each department; Account Management, Brand Communications, Digital Design, Social Media Marketing and Photography. A few ideas were batted about and one thing we were sure about was that we wanted a community-focused endeavour. We are based in Ancoats and have seen the area rise, phoenix-like, from a neglected, scruffy part of the city into the vibrant, creative environment it is today. We wanted to harness the local enthusiasm and creativity and produce something that exhibited the area to the rest of the world.
The recipe book was born. It would utilise all our skills and showcase all the amazing, independent eateries within Ancoats and the neighbouring Northern Quarter. Established eateries, including Yard and Coop, The Abel Heywood, Cottonopolis, Kettlebell Kitchen and Sweet Mandarin didn’t hesitate and jumped at the chance to be featured in the cookbook. New restaurants including Canto and NAM, both of which have opened in Ancoats this year, joined in the fun. Elnecot, recent winners of ‘Best New Restaurant’ in the UK and ‘Best New Restaurant in Manchester’ in the British Restaurant Awards 2018, also joined the line-up. We were cooking on gas, so to speak.
A Labour of Love
That was back in February and for the last nine months we have worked our metaphorical nuts off to bring the book to life. In the end, we managed to gather recipes from over 20 eateries and even a tea emporium. We then invited their chefs, cooks and baristas into our studio, where they prepared their dishes, so that our award-winning photography team could shoot them in all their luscious glory. Our snappers were ably assisted by top food stylist, Clover Hutson, who made each dish look like a work of art. I have to mention our wonderful printers, Entwistle, who generously donated their services to produce the book.
In order to donate as much money as possible to the charity, we decided to run a Kickstarter campaign to cover the production costs of the book. It was a nervous, nail-biting time wondering if we would reach our target, but the good folk of Manchester got behind the campaign and at the end of it we received hundreds of pounds more than our target figure, meaning we would be able to donate even more money than we had originally hoped for.
In October, the draft copy was ready to go to print, so we set about arranging a launch event to thank everyone for their help. NAM, the rather wonderful Vietnamese bar and restaurant in Ancoats, offered to host the evening and gave us their downstairs room, as well as providing a very generous spread and drinks. We sent out invites to our Kickstarter backers, our production partners, the press and the restaurants involved. The response was fantastic and the evening was a huge success. The charity came along and showed a FILM which demonstrated how much the donations mean to them and the work it enables them to do with the children. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
The book is now on general sale through Amazon, (see the link below), so you too can cook the Ancoats and Northern Quarter recipes in your own home for only £10.99 plus p+p. The recipes themselves are easy enough for any level of home cook to prepare, so don’t worry, you don’t need a Michelin starred chef in order to cook up a feast. There are veggie and vegan recipes included, so no one gets left out. The book also makes a fabulous gift for the foodies in your life. Just saying. So, please order, help the charity and cook amazing food. Enjoy!
AMAZON LINK - https://amzn.to/2K7mlIE