More Than Just a Meal: One Plate


On a seasonal May day in London, at the serendititous Spring at Somerset House, we met Thérèse Nichols, founder of One Plate – a charity dedicated to funding sustainable food projects in developing countries – for the launch of what will surely become the definitive guide to brunch in the capital.

But the appropriately titled ‘Brunch in London’ is more than just a compendium and a cookbook, there’s a powerful mission behind its inception – part of a much wider initiative that embodies a commitment to nurturing food security for those who need it most.

We spoke to Therese at the launch, who told us how the charity came about.

“Nine years ago, I spent a month volunteering at a foundation in Manila in the Philippines, caring for street children. There are thousands of children that live on the streets there; some are orphans, some have been abandoned, and some have run away from home, and they spend their days in survival mode.

“One of the hardest things I saw was children just looking for food, rooting through bins and rubbish tips, just to survive. Many of them are on drugs, not through crime, but to numb their stomachs from hunger.

“But this beautiful foundation I was involved with, every Saturday they put on this lunch, welcoming 500 children off the streets. I thought it would be like a soup kitchen, standing in line with their bowls, but what they do is set up the whole room, with tables, tablecloths, for a feast. And they serve the children their plate, presented so beautifully,  taking the time to show the children the importance of the meal itself.

“It was in that moment that I realised how important the plate is. It’s the plate that gives the child dignity. It was through this experience that I started thinking back to our food culture in Australia, how we love going out for meals, and that we’re living in this golden age of the ‘foodie’. We shouldn’t feel guilty about that because it’s such a beautiful part of our culture; it builds friendships and relationships and it’s something we should celebrate. And that’s when the idea struck; wouldn’t it be amazing if we could partner with the hospitality industry and celebrate it by making a difference.

“And so, at this particular foundation, they had a rooftop, and I proposed we create a garden there as a sanctuary for the children – which was their dream – and with that as the goal I went back to Australia and raised $5000 to create the rooftop. That’s when I realised that it was more than just a rooftop; it was therapeutic, it was educational. It was here they learned that tomatoes don’t come in plastic, they grow from seeds.

“That wider impact was the inspiration for One Plate, because when if think about the tens of thousands of children in need, it can be overwhelming, but it starts with that one child; one plate. And the idea was that we were going to partner with restaurants, who would choose one menu item and each time that item was ordered one dollar is donated to One Plate. And then 100% of that dollar is used to fund sustainable food projects for these children; rooftop gardens, farms, avocado orchards, fruit and nut tree orchards, and it started to grow.”

The charity is built on the generosity of volunteers, and 100% of donations goes to the projects. Since its inception, One Plate has raised well over $1million, and in one instance, a Melbourne restaurant, known for its fish and chips, donating $1 for every dish sold, has single-handedly raised $27,000 – that’s 27,000 plates of fish and chips from one restaurant.

With many participating restaurants, it wasn’t long before the idea of a book came about, and in 2020, ‘Brunch in Melbourne’ was born. “That happened to be the best year to launch it,” Therese says, “because everybody was at home cooking. And it sold out in three weeks.” The result of that book alone meant the foundation was able to fund multiple projects across the Philippines, Cambodia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. “All sustainable food projects,” she continues, “and all for children who have been abandoned, teaching them how to grow their own food, and then excess produce is sold to the local market – and that money then funds their education.”

With the success of that first book, it wasn’t long before the next was in the works, and with the sheer range and diversity of restaurants in the capital, not to mention the profile of chefs in their kitchens, ‘Brunch in London’ felt like a natural successor. “I contacted a few people,” Therese says, “and it began to snowball. We began to curate a list of 100 of London’s amazing restaurants and cafes, and it’s now evolved into what we’re launching today.”

The beautifully crafted cookbook is a culinary journey through the heart of one of the world’s most dynamic cities, showcasing the diversity and creativity of its brunch scene. From cosy cafés to renowned restaurants, the book features contributions from top chefs across the capital, including Jamie OliverAngela HartnettDiana HenryPhilip KhouryRick SteinYotam Ottolenghi and Heston Blumenthal, offering readers the chance to recreate the flavours of London’s most indulgent meal at home.

“This cookbook really is a book that is an ode to the London hospitality industry. I have been overwhelmed by how welcoming the London hospitality industry has been, and how open they have been to supporting One Plate. It’s a tribute to the industry uniting together to make a difference.

“This is not just a story of amazing brunch recipes across London, but a story of hope and inspiration of the children that we serve – some of whose stories are in this book.”

One Plate: Brunch in London is available now from this link, priced £35, with a goal to raise £500,000 for projects across Africa and Asia. For more information, including details of participating restaurants and recipes, please visit