News: Katherine Ryan Joins Joe Wicks And Gizzi Erskine in Campaign To Support Independent Restaurants

News: Katherine Ryan Joins Joe Wicks And Gizzi Erskine in Campaign To Support Independent Restaurants

Recipe box company Gousto has recruited superstar chef Gizzi Erskine, long-term ambassador Joe Wicks MBE and comedian and self-confessed foodie Katherine Ryan to launch Cookstarter, a campaign supporting Britain’s diverse food culture by helping independent restaurants thrive during the pandemic.

The campaign comes as new research commissioned by Gousto polling 250 independent restaurant workers and 2,000 British adults revealed that 90% of restaurants have faced the risk of permanent closure at some point during the pandemic. 70% of people fear the variety of Britain’s food scene is under threat as a result.

To support their can’t-live-without local restaurants and help the industry thrive, Brits will be asked to come forward and nominate their favourite UK-based independent eateries into Gousto’s  Cookstarter campaign at before 7th Feb. 

Following the nationwide search, the Cookstarter campaign will see five much-loved independent restaurants receive £10k-worth of funding each, alongside a year-long programme of business coaching support, spanning finance, marketing, HR and product development from a dedicated Board of Mentors at Gousto, put together by CEO and co-founder Timo Boldt. 

Alongside the year-long support programme, Gousto will collaborate with the five independent restaurants to create new recipes inspired by the restaurants for customers to enjoy at home. Every time a subscriber orders a Cookstarter recipe, they will be able to tip’ the restaurant’s team through the cashless tipping solution TiPJAR.  

Chef and restaurateur Gizzi Erskine commented: “For so many of us, the joy of dining is all about discovering new foods. We’re lucky in the UK to have such a diverse food scene but this is at risk with independent restaurants having been hit hard in the past year. Diversity is at the heart of Britain, and our food culture is a huge part of that. Its essential we pull together, show our support and stand up for the foodie gems that make this country so unique. ”. 

The campaign will go one step further to benefit the industry as a whole by encouraging Brits to donate to Hospitality Action, a charity that supports all workers in the UK hospitality industry.

Research by Gousto also revealed that over a third of restaurant workers (36%) are fearing for the future of independent restaurants in the UK, as restrictions in many areas of the country are only getting tighter.

The vast majority (97%) of restaurants have had to pivot and adapt to the changing times, but sadly with a huge financial cost, 86% have reported reduced profits, making it a tough year to stay in business.

Almost all (97%) of restaurants have had to adapt to changing regulations and fluctuating demand, with over half reducing their menu size in the past year, greatly restricting the meal choice available to customers. Despite this, for nearly half (43%) food wastage is at an all-time high.

But Britain’s food culture is loved by many and hunger for culinary diversity remains high. For over half of British diners, the UK’s unique food scene is one of their favourite things about the country 

A huge 79% believe that independent restaurants are what makes Britains food scene so unique, and 82% would like to be able to do more to help them during this difficult time. 

Kathryn Huxtable, Director of Food at Gousto commented: “One of the best things about the UK is the variety, diversity and vibrancy of our amazing food culture and it’s so important that we rally together to preserve it.  We want mealtimes to be full of adventure and discovery, which is why we want to play our part to ensure independent restaurants can survive and thrive through these troubled times.”

Angus Pride, Owner of Independent Restaurant Peru Perdu in Manchester commented: “It inspires hope to see the UK recognise the value of independent restaurants and champion our success after a difficult year. Funding is important, but the year-long mentorship offered by Gousto will be so helpful in providing restaurant owners with the tools needed to overcome these challenging times and continue to provide the UK with the incredible food variety that we all value so much.”   

Gousto's Cookstarter campaign supports Britain's diverse food culture by helping independent restaurants thrive. Go to to nominate your can’t-live-without local restaurant by 7th February, giving them a chance to receive much-needed support. Follow the campaign via @GoustoCooking #Cookstarter.

Katherine Ryan also has her memoir coming out in September and she tours the UK from this autumn. More details here.

Katherine Ryan Picture: @lateefphotography



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