Deliveroo opens LGBTQ+ pop-up restaurant to help aspiring queer chefs – and you can order its food

As part of Pride month, the food delivery platform Deliveroo is opening a new kitchen where aspiring LGBTQ+ chefs can develop their skills in a safe space before having the chance to serve their dishes.

The Open Kitchen aims to increase representation in commercial kitchens across the UK, after research revealed that underrepresentation of the LGBTQ+ community is one of the industry’s biggest issues.

A recent survey of 100 LGBTQ+ hospitality workers by OnePoll found that 64 per cent of workers surveyed believe queer representation is not talked about enough within the business, and 81 per cent admitted that in previous or current hospitality jobs, they were the only openly queer person.

Meanwhile, only just over half (56 per cent) said that they feel they can be their authentic self while working in the industry, and 61 per cent said they would not feel confident entering a working environment where their community is underrepresented.

But on Wednesday and Thursday (5 and 6 June), Deliveroo will officially open the doors to The Open Kitchen, where professional chefs from LGBTQ+-owned Deliveroo partners, The Athenian and Nanny Bill’s, will mentor budding LGBTQ+ culinary talent.

The trainee chefs will participate in a hands-on masterclass to learn how to cook dishes inspired by the restaurants’ menus. Dishes from The Open Kitchen will then be made available to London customers to purchase on the app that evening.

The initiative was developed in collaboration with Queers in Food and Beverage, a network connecting LGBTQ+ people who work in the hospitality industry. The organisation united Deliveroo with up-and-coming chefs wanting to refine their skills and progress in the industry.

“I started Queers in Food and Beverage over three years ago, after experiencing a lack of representation of the queer community in the industry, first-hand,” said Rachel Rumbol.

“My hope is that The Open Kitchen will help increase visibility of the LGBTQ+ community in kitchens and hospitality, and prompt conversations about this issue during Pride Month and beyond.”   

Deliveroo’s commitment to LGBTQ+ hospitality workers

The move also marks the launch of Deliveroo’s Open Kitchen Fund, which aims to improve LGBTQ+ representation in the hospitality industry, by sponsoring aspiring talent in culinary training. 

In the fund’s inaugural year, all sales from The Open Kitchen restaurant will go towards the fund, to support five aspiring chefs from all over the UK. Deliveroo will match the total sales from The Open Kitchen restaurant as an additional donation.

The fund comes after 65 per cent of queer hospitality workers surveyed said there is still plenty to be done to make the industry a more inclusive place for the LGBTQ+ community. Seventy-seven per cent of respondents said they believe it was important to have role models in their workplace who are also from the community.

Commenting on the Open Kitchen initiative and restaurant, Kelvin Chen, the global co-lead of the platform’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group Deloveroo, said: “At Deliveroo, we believe in the power of food to tell stories, help forge identities and bring people closer together.

“That’s why we proudly demonstrate our support of the LGBTQ+ community through our work with customers, riders and restaurants. This includes amplifying voices and improving the experience of those individuals across our marketplace, which is why we are so excited to be launching The Open Kitchen and a new fund that will have a lasting impact well beyond Pride month. 

“We hope this inspires even more people from the community to kick start their career in the culinary space.”

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