UK chefs challenge Londoners to Live Below the Line

live below the line 2013

Could you feed yourself on £1 a day? That’s what chefs across the UK are encouraging Londoners to do as part of charity campaign Live Below the Line.

Every day, 1.4bn people survive under extreme poverty – 13m in the UK alone. To raise awareness about this issue, The Global Poverty Project is asking people to raise money by committing to spend no more than £1 per day on food and drink for five whole days – that’s just 33p per meal. The goal is to give participants an idea of the hardships faced by people living under poverty – and to raise money through sponsorship.

This year, some of London’s biggest culinary names, including Gordon Ramsay, Chris and Jeff Galvin, and José Pizarro are getting involved in the Live Below the Line event by contributing recipes to the campaign’s Facebook page to support participants in their difficult task.

Featured chef recipes all cost less than £1 and include tasty chicken dishes, hearty shepherd’s pie, and veggie options such as hearty, flavourful soups, or butternut squash ravioli. The chefs’ recipes should provide those taking up the Live Below the Line challenge with inspiration for their week of meals, and prove that it is possible to make nutritious, filling meals on a tight budget.

Pizarro – who is participating in the challenge himself for this first time this year – says simple dishes are the best way to make your money go further. ‘You should spend more time preparing your food but cook something simple using fresh produce,’ he advised. He has chosen a family recipe – a potato-and-vegetable dish called poor man’s potatoes – which combines peppers, onions, roast potato, garlic and thyme. ‘Back in Spain, this dish is very popular because it is so versatile,’ he said. ‘It is so easy to use potatoes as a main ingredient because they are cheap and you can pack them full of flavour.’

Michelin-starred brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin collaborated with the restaurant group's head chef Kevin Tew to come up with three easy recipes that will see participants through the campaign: pork-and-apple dartoise (a meaty sausage roll seasoned with apples and spices), classic chicken soup, and breadcrumbed chicken – all creative ways to keep hunger at bay.

Tew (pictured, back) told Square Meal that finding cheap ingredients for his recipes was a difficult task. ‘You need to shop around to find cheap meat, but if you splash out on meat for some dishes, you can do loads with rice, porridge, and grains for others,’ he said. To save money, Tew also recommends that people get back to basics. ‘You can save money by making things like pastry from scratch,’ he said.

So, do you think you can Live Below the Line? The challenge will start on 29 April and finish on 3 May, and the Global Poverty Project has all the tips and support you need – from clubbing together with colleagues to bulking up a light meal with good-value ingredients such as lentils.

If you’re up for the Live Below the Line challenge, you’ll find all the chef recipes, plus more information and guidance, on the campaign’s Facebook page. Let us know how you’re doing and which chef’s recipe is your favourite by tweeting @SquareMeal and @LBLUK with the hashtag #belowtheline. Good luck!