For six days, he trekked the Jordan Rift Valley to the ancient city of Petra along with many other top chefs and industry ambassadors. During this time, walkers faced different conditions and terrain with only basic facilities – no access to showers or toilets, and camping every night. The aim? To raise £150,000 for this charity’s lifesaving work.
Action Against Hunger has been doing treks for several years now in different locations but this was, to date, the longest and most challenging one. We are very proud not only of Fran but the whole team that accompanied him on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Today on the blog he brings us a piece of Jordan as he tells us about this extraordinary experience himself.
Fran’s Experience on the Jordan Trek
“Writing from Amman with this incredible test already completed, I think about the last 10 days, the incredible people I have met and the challenging situations in which I found myself a couple of times. I look at my feet covered in plasters and wonder if it has been all worth it and if I would do it again. The answer? 100% yes. So much so that I have already agreed to join Action Against Hunger next time.
On our first day we visited some of the projects that Action Against Hunger are working on in Amman. We had the chance to see in person the precarity of the Sirian refugee camp there, where 50,000 refugees are hoping for the conflict in their country to finally end and get a chance to go back home. Action Against Hunger are working on these long term projects to ensure that their day-to-day life is a little bit better.
During our Jordan Trek we could say that pretty much every day didn’t go to plan in terms of route, camp base, or weather forecast; all of which probably made everything more interesting. As a great memory, I would probably take the 5th day of trekking, when we were meant to walk for 7 to 8 hours but we ended up walking for over 12 hours in complete darkness, ascending nearly 2000m which even involved climbing at some point.
But the greatest highlight of the trip for me is the moment when we arrived at the monastery of Petra after 12 miles of walking and climbing over 1000 steps. We came in through a lesser-known entrance at the back of Petra. That was the instant that made us realised it was all done, we had completed it. I saw some tears in my colleagues’ eyes as we all started calling home to let our loved ones know that we were fine, that we had done it (we didn’t have signal to communicate for the entire 6 days).
It was also great to join the London group. I realised how close the industry and chefs are and they quickly made me feel one of them. We went ahead through all of it together, some of us had better days and some had them worse, but we were all supporting each other. It was truly amazing to spend time with these people, big names from the London hospitality family, like Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick (Murano/Merchant Tavern), Tom Brown (Cornerstone), Richard Turner (Meatopia/Hawksmoor), Sam Buckley (WTLGI), Shaun Searley (Quality Chophouse), Dan Joines and Robin Gill (Sorella, Darby’s), Felicity Clarke (The Big Feastival), James Knappett (Bubbledogs/Kitchen Table), Jenny Barnett (Hakkasan), Maria McCann (Shake Shack), Nick Garston (BGP), Shamik Pasinski (Hakkasan), Sarah Fox (LemonFox) & Tsara Taylor (Camino).
I have made friendships that I am sure will last forever, like Hus Vedat from Good Food Society (Hovarda, Yosma, Barboun Restaurants), Nieves Barragan (Sabor Restaurant London) and the incredible Paulo de Tarso (Margot Restaurant London). And a big thanks to Harry and Matt from Action Against Hunger and Cristina and Helen from Discovery Adventures.”
All contributions count…
At this point, the participants have raised over £260,000 already (and growing!), with nearly £10,000 raised by Fran himself. We are incredibly proud of all of them and are looking forward to hearing more of the fantastic and constant work this amazing organisation does for all these important causes around the world.