WORLD class chefs created culinary finesse of the highest order for lucky diners supporting a great Furness community fundraising weekend.

The fifth annual celebrity chefs extravaganza in aid of the Lake District Farmers Armstrong Family Charitable Fund returned to Clarence House Country Hotel and Restaurant, in Dalton, which hosts and sponsors the event, on Friday and Saturday night.

The fund raises thousands of pounds to support needy families, community groups and charities across Furness as part of the legacy of the late Ray Armstrong.

Diners were wowed with the impressive fine dining experience courtesy of culinary geniuses and their teams who all use Lake District Farmers meat products in their top notch London establishments.

Michelin-starred chefs created a stunning six course menu on Friday. Tom Aikens - who, when he was just 26, became the youngest chef to hold two Michelin stars - produced a splendid fourth course of Eric's Herdwick lamb rack with braised shoulder, white bean cassoulet and braised shallots.

Tom said: "For me it is one of the most amazing events, highlight of the year. Not only is it a great charity, but to be here with all the other chefs as well is a great treat. We very rarely get the opportunity to see each other socially or work together. It's great to be here.

"Lake District Farmers are really at top of their game in terms of the all products they get here from Cumbria, it's absolutely amazing, the best of the best. This event captures a lot of everything, it's for charity, we cook with amazing products and it's a fun thing to do as well."

Phil Howard, a two-Michelin star chef of 17 years and Rachel Humphrey, the first female head chef at Michelle Roux Jr’s world-famous two Michelin starred Le Gavroche created divine courses on their first appearance at the event.

Phil, whose high end courses included cabbage leaves with cauliflower couscous, a truffled egg and Montgomery dressing, said: "It's always one of the great things about being a chef, that from a fundraising point of view cooking is a really powerful tool where people will pay good money for a great meal, and in turn you can raise a huge amount of money.

"Lake District Farmers are one of the suppliers that we absolutely treasure, they have wonderful produce and I love that fact that what they are trying to do is support very particular and small, all be it important, causes."

Rachel said she was delighted to support a great charity event in person, as Le Gavroche have supported the event through auction prizes previously.

She said: "Quality is paramount, so the great quality of the meat from Lake District Farmers, and the care taken with it is very important. It is translated from them, to us and to our customers."

Saturday brought another incredible menu being created by maestros, London restaurateur and Dalton regular, Jeff Galvin, Phil Campbell of Goodman steak restaurants and Oli Wadham and Felix Stenhouse from Marcus Wareing's two Michelin starred restaurant at The Berkeley.

Phil said: "It's an absolute pleasure for me to come up and work with the guys from Lake District Farmers. For me because of the attention to detail they put into their quality. I've been working with them for six years and everything about what we do in London with steak, the UK beef, comes from these guys.

"I met Ray a couple times and he was a top, top guy, so coming up here and helping the Armstrong family is an absolute pleasure."

Jeff Galvin said: "The charity itself is really, really important and very personal to Dan. During the year I get a lot of warmth from the news clips and press cuttings that Dan sends me. Overall we have a fantastic night as well, we have a lot of fun up here. The support of the local people is overwhelming. Seeing how people get behind this event is mind blowing. It's a pleasure."

Dan Austin, the managing director of Lake District Farmers thanked all the wonderful chefs, Clarence House for their amazing support, all the LDF network of colleagues and the diners. He said: "It's been amazing and the reaction from diners has been incredible. It's always overwhelming, every year it gets stronger."

Chef Phil Howard was auctioned off for £5,000 to cook for 10 people at home. Barrow businessman Bob Brady was the highest bidder. Dan said: "We would like to give a huge thanks to Bob. He's an amazing person who has supported us massively over the years. Bob is very much like Ray, he was a friend of Ray's, and like him he does not seek recognition for the amazing things he does."

Victoria Barber-Bolam, managing director of Clarence House Country Hotel and Restaurant, said: "This event is fabulous and we love it. We are going to go over the £200,000 mark with the money raised for the causes. The whole atmosphere is brilliant."

Bob Brady said it was great to have top class chefs in Furness for the fundraiser. He said: "This is money that stays in Furness to support the local causes.

"Ray was a good friend of mine, who I knew for many years. It is great to support the family, Lake District Farmers and the good causes."

Next weekend the chefs event heads to Abbey House Hotel with another star studded line up.

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