Soufflés Rise to Polio Challenge

Local cooks sharpened their skills while raising funds for the Rotary campaign to wipe out polio this month [10 May]. Executive chef Mark Thatcher, more used to directing nearly 70 staff in six restaurants at the House of Lords, gave a masterclass on soufflé-making in Harbledown that raised £200 earlier in May. The class was held in the kitchen of Richard and Cora Kemball-Cook in their house in Harbledown.

click colour photos to enlarge

The twelve guests started with the hot Soufflé Suissess: this was the dish Queen Mother always asked for when she dined at Le Gavroche. In fact soufflés were a great favourite for her Sunday lunch parties along with lobster croquettes. The Soufflé Suisses contained double cream, eggs, butter and cheese: so how did the Queen Mother live to over 100?

MasterChef Mark Thatcher then followed with a delicious hot raspberry soufflé and a cold Soufflé Milanese made from lemons and coated with almond nibs. Cora said that she had always avoided whisking eggs but now had more confidence following Mark's good advice to thoroughly sterilise both the bowl and whisk with boiling water.

Polio was killing 350,000 children a year in 1985, when Rotary International began its drive to eradicate the disease. Many other children in the developing world were left permanently disabled. After a highly successful 30-year campaign, polio’s toll is now down to only 350 new cases a year.

In a final push to wipe polio out completely, the Bill Gates Foundation is giving £2 for every £1 raised by Rotary groups, bringing the soufflé makers’ contribution to £600.

Further fundraising by the Rotary Club of Canterbury for the eradication of polio will be the Ascot event for children and adults held at Highfield House, Summer Hill, Harbledown, on Sunday, 7 June.

For more information, please contact Richard Kemball-Cook, Rotary Club of Canterbury, tel 07860 346 776,

Information for editors:

Mark Thatcher, vice-president of the League of Club Chefs, is now a consultant on kitchen design and provides catering for events.

Wednesday 20th May 2015

Published by: The Rotary Club of Canterbury

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