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Michelin-star dinner for homeless youth
Dans le Noir? - the celebrated dining in the dark restaurant staffed by blind people - and the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, hosted a gastronomic dinner recently.
The dinner was held for Centrepoint’s vulnerable 16-25 year-olds to celebrate Dans le Noir?’s 10th Anniversary and decade of successful charitable ventures.
Homeless young people experienced heightened flavours by enjoying a gastro dinner in the dark. The menu at Dans le Noir? has evolved over the past 10 years and in November 2015, Michelin star chef, Julien Machet, was hired to consult and help John Houel, the London Head Chef, create the four eclectic menus. Chef Julien was present to assist with the creation of this spectacular dinner.
Dans le Noir? and Centrepoint support those furthest from the jobline to help them get into work. The two companies have joined forces to maximise awareness of the difficulties that blind, and homeless young people, face when trying to get into employment.
Dining in the dark challenges people’s preconceptions of other people. Gov.uk statistics estimate that 16% of working age adults are disabled. Recent statistics show that only 46.3% of disabled people are in employment compared to 76.4% of non-disabled people, making it a significant social issue. Additionally, disabled people are significantly more likely to experience unfair treatment in work.
Caroline Pidgeon, Lib Dem London Mayoral Candidate 2016, said: "Given that the level of homelessness in London has - sadly - grown over the past four years, it’s fantastic to see initiatives like this from Dans le Noir? aimed at helping young homeless people. I would encourage other employers across London to explore if they could help develop schemes like this, which offer a route to support people in furthering their skills through training and employment and a way in to permanent housing."
Shahrar Ali, No 3 on the Green Party London Assembly, commented: "One of the remarkable things about Dans le Noir? is that it turns the tables on the sighted, who are rendered virtually helpless by the blackout conditions and are entirely dependent on blind people to guide them. It’s a great experience for diners but by creating these rare conditions where blind people are better off, it also brings home just how hard it can be to find work if you have any kind of disadvantage. That’s something that young homeless people also know all about, and this is a fantastic joint initiative by Dans le Noir? and Centrepoint to draw attention to those difficulties.”
Edouard de Broglie, who founded Dans le Noir? in Paris in 2004, added: “50% of our staff have a high disability, yet we still operate an efficient and profitable company. We have an incredibly low staff turnover, which shows the dedication of our long-standing team. We want to show big companies that people with disabilities shouldn’t be limited to performing only menial jobs. Our guides are incredibly skilled and challenge the perception that blind or visually impaired can serve in a restaurant. Who could have said that 10 years ago?”.
Dans le Noir? 30-31 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0DU
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