Rocking Day in the Life… Kim Harvey, Founder of  foodie fundraiser ‘Mayhem’

We catch up with Kim who has created ‘Mayhem’ the must attend foodie event that includes 13 talented chefs, offering 13 courses in order to raise money for local charity Open Door.  It takes place on 27th September at Manor by the Lake in Cheltenham.

So Kim, how did you set up and ‘Join the Mayhem’ and what were you doing beforehand?

I have worked in the hospitality industry for the past eight years and had the pleasure to work with some fabulously talented Chefs and front of house teams.   In September 2017 I became aware of a community in The Gambia with no access to clean water and so Mayhem was born.  I contacted friends and colleagues and in January we served up nine courses by nine chefs at The Malthouse Bar & Kitchen and by April the clean water supply was flowing and we wanted to do it all over again!

How did you choose the chefs and each course?

I have a wonderful core team of six Chefs from Gloucestershire and London always willing to Join the Mayhem.  For the latest event: ‘Mayhem@theManor’ we wanted to go large so we contacted Chefs whose skills and dishes we admire, one or two were committed to other events or could not fit us in between filming schedules but we are delighted to have 14 high calibre Chefs all willing to donate their time to raise cash for the homeless and vulnerable in Cheltenham.

Once we had our team we asked each Chef to submit two dishes of their choosing and from there we put together a menu that flows.


How many people are on the team putting it together?  Is this taking up all of your days and nights at the moment?

Apart from my gorgeous six Chefs, there is me and my Tech Wizard Louise but Mayhem would not happen without all the fabulous people donating their services; from our Foragers Bellowildfood in Cornwall to our beautiful venue Manor by the Lake to R & R Catering who are supplying the 1300 plates we need on the night!  I truly believe everybody in this industry has a BIG heart because I ask so much of people and so many simply answer YES.   The next two weeks will be crazy, I am now living breathing and even dreaming in glorious Mayhem technicolour!


What’s a fairly typical morning and afternoon for you?

This is Mayhem, typical does not really apply!  My alarm buzzes at 5.30am and I spend 30 minutes catching up on messages and emails, because we all work odd hours, I find Chefs reply best after dinner service and Foragers are dependant on the tide times so messages at 3am are a regular occurrence.  I then spend a further 30 minutes on social media, posting photos to our FB and Instagram sites and tweeting – I love searching for vintage shots to chime with our brand – I am never without my iPhone and constantly taking photos. I currently have 13,000 on my phone!  For the next couple of hours its family time, the school run.  As well as Mayhem I work with several Chefs doing a variety of things from managing their accounts, their social media pages or helping to run their events.  I believe its what they call a ‘portfolio career’ and I love it, boredom is my enemy and I am rubbish at doing nothing!

How do you get to work? Do you commute?

In my dreams I am travelling the UK in a vintage Porsche Speedster with my hair on fire! In reality I mostly work from home at my desk under the staircase!  It is my space in a house full of teenagers and I am ever so slightly OCD about my piles of paperwork.

Where would you recommend to eat during your time off from work? Any local pubs or bars that we need to know about?

Oh my favourite subject!

For coffee and brunch you should visit Lynwoods (Burford, Fairford or Lechlade) their Joe is smokin and their banana bread with ricotta and honey is heavenly! Or if you want to go old school Cafe Sarnie on Bennington Street is a must for an early morning fry-up!  For a touch of the giggle water you cannot beat a Bellini at Montpellier Wine Bar with a side order of calamari followed by a seat at the bar in The Ivy for a Three Martini Lunch with a plate of Arancini. For dinner you cannot argue with Gareth’s food at Purslane, I could eat his bread and butter for breakfast lunch and dinner or if there is a crowd of you head to a private room at Bottle of Sauce, its enough to keep my Chefs quiet after a long day prepping!


One to look out for is The Seven Tuns at Chedworth, its about to re-open with a new Chef Patron and oh man the boy can cook!   Of course if you come to Mayhem you get to travel the UK on a culinary adventure from the Ballroom at Manor by the Lake.

What’s been the most challenging and rewarding part of the campaign so far?

Our goal is to give all our guests an incredible evening whilst maximising our fundraising for the homeless on our doorstep.  Putting on a dining event of this calibre and this size with a budget of zero is certainly ambitious but I think our biggest challenge is getting our message out there.

Everybody involved gives their time and expertise for free and there is no budget for advertising or a team of marketing professionals behind the brand but I love Mayhem and what we stand for, showcasing everything that is great about our industry whilst giving something back to those who need it.

In Africa 1 in 5 children dies because they drink dirty water – Mayhem 1 made a positive difference to that statistic!

Sara and Rosie at Cheltenham Open Door are my inspiration for Mayhem@the Manor.  They are smart well- informed women with a massive helping of emotional intelligence. To sit down with them and chat over a cuppa is an absolute privilege.  To know we can help keep them doing what they do is beyond rewarding.

Any of the 13 courses that you’ve got your eye on in particular?

Blimey!  I cannot tell you that these boys carry sharp knives!  Better if you come along and then tell me which was your favourite!  But between you and me I am very excited for Simon Rogans dish, it’s not often we get a Chef with a handful of Michelin Stars cooking outside their own restaurant and i love his passion for the connection between food and nature.  I am also delighted that we are being joined by ‘The Ribman’ and his collaborate dish with local MasterChef Wayne Sullivan is going to be banging!


If you could recommend one place to go in the Cotswolds for a first time visitor, where would you recommend?

I have fallen in love with Pitville Park, its a great place sit with a cup of Joe and watch the world of Cheltenham go by and it is particularly stunning in Autumn.  Sometimes I run there but mostly I just sit and people watch.


How do you unwind after a busy day?

Eat chocolate, drink Cherry Cola and watch Marvel movies with my children.  Over the summer holidays we re-watched every Marvel movie in chronological order.  The children would be able to give you chapter and verse regarding Marvels complicated relationship with American politics but I just kinda like watching the good guys win.

To buy tickets to Mayhem click here

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