Need a bit of lunchtime motivation? Our Lunch With… events offer a great way to help you learn from others in and out of the social enterprise sector.

Come and hear one account from Chris Hanson, Founder and CEO at the award-winning Blend Kitchen in Sheffield. Find out about his inspiring journey that took him from commis chef at the acclaimed Whitley Hall in Sheffield to cooking for Richard Branson at the Paris Air Show!

Chris has worked in various hotels, gastro pubs and restaurants, and spent three months with his wife Caroline participating in BBC TV series ‘The Restaurant’ with two Michelin star chef Raymond Blanc. He first took the decision to share some of the skills he’d learnt with others by taking a job at a Sure Start programme where his role involved supporting parents from the local community to set up their own catering company.

Later, working on a community public health programme in central Sheffield and experiencing first hand the challenges faced by the voluntary sector, Chris and a team of volunteers created the concept for Blend Kitchen. The goal was to create a financially successful hospitality business that provided training, employment support, inclusive events and cookery classes for Sheffield residents.

In 2016 following the birth of his first daughter, he took the decision to leave his job and with £10 of his own money, set up Blend Kitchen as an independent legal entity. Since then Chris and the Blend team have grown the organisation from running small pop up cafes, street food events and training courses to raising £350k during lockdown to create their purpose built home at Wards Exchange on Ecclesall Road. Today the organisation employs over 20 people, many of whom have overcome significant life challenges to move from volunteering into their first paid role.

As well as hearing from Chris, there’ll be an opportunity to try some tasty first-class food prepared by the Blend Kitchen team and to network with others working in and with the social enterprise sector in the region.

Blend Kitchen is a 15 minute walk from Sheffield station, or is accessible by bus (81/82/83/88) from the city centre. There is plenty of car parking in the area.

Delivered by Sheffield Social Enterprise Network, in partnership with Social Enterprise Exchange.