If there’s one restaurant whose name gets thrown around a lot in the London foodie scene, it’s Dishoom. Ever since they opened up their first restaurant in Covent Garden, they’ve gone from strength to strength. But they’re more than just an incredible restaurant – Dishoom also gives back enormously through their A Meal For A Meal program. And this year they’ve crunched the numbers and discovered that they’ve given back to the tune of 20 million free meals for children in need!
The charitable endeavour started back in 2015. Dishoom partnered up with Magic Breakfast and The Akshaya Patra Foundation for their Ramadan “zakat, or act of charity”. Later that year, at Diwali, they made the partnership permanent. Ever since that time, every single meal they’ve served has seen them donate a meal to a child who would otherwise go hungry.
How did they give away 20 million free meals?
There are now seven Dishoom restaurants in London, with the latest having opened in late 2023 in Battersea. There are also Dishoom venues in Edinburgh, Birmingham, and Manchester. And since each restaurant contributes to the count of donated meals, the restaurant group’s expansion results in a constantly growing number of free meals. The numbers also extend to each Dishoom at-home Naan Roll Kit sold, as well as every meal sold at the recently opened Permit Room in Brighton.
In January of last year, the team announced that they had donated over 15 million meals. And now, just one year later, they’ve soared past the 20 million free meals mark. That’s an extra 5 million meals donated in one year alone!
The two charity partners, which support children who live with food insecurity in the UK and India, work with over 22,000 schools in England, Scotland, and India. Through the work, they’re able to offer healthy meals to over two million children every school day. By providing these meals, a huge barrier to education is being broken down – ensuring that children are not too hungry to learn.
More than just a free meal
Dishoom’s work with Magic Breakfast and The Akshaya Patra Foundation doesn’t just stop at the free meals. Their annual Magical Breakfast Takeover sees children from UK partner schools invited to Dishoom’s cafés for a healthy breakfast and to meet with Dishoom’s Chef-Wallas and the team of volunteers. Dishoom also runs a Bombay Bootcamp for long-time team members. Those who have been with the company for five years are invited to Bombay for a guided tour of the city, to see the Askhaya Patra kitchens, and to serve lunch as part of the Midday Meals programme.
In both cases, Dishoom’s staff and members get to see just why they’ve instituted the ‘A Meal for a Meal’ program for so long. It’s a first-hand insight into the importance and power of the restaurant’s attempts to give back.
So next time you’re standing in line for a table at Dishoom just remind yourself of this as you sip at your bottomless chai: the meal is going to be fantastic, and it’s going to do good in the world too.
You can read more about the various ways that Dishoom gives back here.