Industry leaders fire up the grill for this year's OzHarvest CEO CookOff

Thursday 15th February 2018

Geoff Lloyd

Finance industry leaders are among the many top executives preparing to participate in the OzHarvest CEO CookOff, to be held on Monday 19 March at Sydney’s Royal Hall of Industries. Egged on by their friends and colleagues in the form of sponsorship dollars, they will work alongside some of Australia's most talented chefs, to serve a gourmet feast to more than a thousand of the city's most vulnerable people.

Since its inception seven years ago, the event has raised over $7 million towards the OzHarvest cause - to rescue unwanted food from businesses and distribute it to those in need - with founder and CEO, Ronni Kahn, setting a $2 million goal for this year's event.

(Pictured: Geoff Lloyd, MD Perpetual)





“The CEO CookOff gives a unique opportunity for CEOs to demonstrate leadership with compassion and purpose, and to break bread with some of the most vulnerable people in our community.” - Founder and CEO, Ronni Kahn

2017 Cook off

This is one instance where there is no such thing as “too many cooks in the kitchen”, so register your interest to participate in this year's event by visiting OzHarvest's registration page and to give you a taste of what you might expect, we caught up with some industry leaders who are already sharpening their knives.



Some familiar faces participating in the 2018 CookOff

Geoff Lloyd Geoff Lloyd
Managing Director, Perpetual

What prompted you to become involved in the OzHarvest CEO CookOff?

The energetic Ronni Kahn invited me to participate back in 2014. This will be the fifth time I have taken part and I am a passionate supporter of the cause. Over the years my friends and colleagues have helped me raise more than $80,000 for OzHarvest, which equates to more than 160,000 meals.

What’s your favourite aspect of the evening?

Being a part of something so big is incredible and it is great to see all the CEO’s, chefs and volunteers working together to help those in need. Teamwork is as important in the kitchen as it is in the boardroom. It’s a great tribute to OzHarvest for their organisation of such an enormous event and to see the smiles of the guests as they walk down the yellow carpet on the day.

I’m also passionate about OzHarvest’s goal to minimise food waste and their rescue program to collect quality surplus food and deliver it directly free of charge, to over 1000 local charities.

Of the chefs involved in this years’ CookOff, who would you most like to cook with and why?

All the chefs and their teams that participate are incredibly unique and talented. We are so privileged to live in a country that has quality produce and great dining options. If I had to pick one chef it would be Neil Perry. Not only is Neil a great chef but he is such a generous person. He displays great humanity when he engages with the guests at the CookOffs.
Neil is a great supporter of OzHarvest, donates plenty of his time and has helped raise significant money. In fact, the Rockpool Dining Group recently donated a van and a driver to OzHarvest – just another sign of his generosity and kindness towards a great cause.

Why should more leaders in the finance industry get involved this year?

We work in the very privileged financial services industry and it’s really important to me that we give back. At Perpetual, charitable giving has played a vital role in our company for more than 130 years. Also, we are proud to donate any surplus food from lunches or events to OzHarvest so they can deliver it to those in need.

I think it’s important for business leaders in Australia to not only lead their business well, but also, to help raise awareness about community issues that are important to them. It’s a privilege to be able to participate in the OzHarvest CEO CookOff. I believe everyone deserves a roof over their head, a good meal, a safe place to sleep and to be treated with dignity. As Ronni says, “this event is all about giving and love”.

Click here to support Geoff!

"Teamwork is as important in the kitchen as it is in the boardroom." - Geoff Lloyd

Lawrence Goldstone Lawrence Goldstone
Partner CMO Advisory, PwC Australia

What prompted you to become involved in the OzHarvest CEO CookOff?

As a Board Director and passionate supporter of the yellow army, it's a no-brainer. This is our major fundraising event, and is as much about raising money as it is building awareness, showing support and creating a special gala evening for the 1,000 special guests on the night.

You’ve previously participated in the event, what’s your favourite aspect of the evening?

Being able to serve and share the evening with those who are less fortunate. It's a special evening and one that is built on principles of dignity, respect and service.

Of the chefs involved in this years’ cook off, who would you most like to cook with and why?

I've had the pleasure to be teamed with some amazing chefs over the years, but having just eaten at Saint Peter for the first time, I like the idea of Josh Niland. He's known for pushing the boundaries in his cooking, so that could be fun and he may give me a hint or two?

Why should more leaders in the finance industry get involved this year?

It's important to be able to give back, not only financially, but also backing something you are passionate about. Food waste is something that we all contribute too, including how we purchase and the choices we make. Taking part in something versus a one-off donation simply has more impact - it's a ripple effect! Plus the evening is so special, once you go yellow, you never look back! I'd love to see more leaders across all industries lead by example and put themselves out there. There is a fun competitive spirit in the fundraising, but in the end its about the outcome we can make.

Click here to support Lawrence!

"Taking part in something versus a one-off donation simply has more impact - it's a ripple effect!" - Lawrence Goldstone

Heena Chakravorti

Heena Chakravorti
Head of Oceania, Bloomberg LP

What prompted you to become involved in the OzHarvest CEO CookOff?

We had so much fun the first year that we are entering a whole team this year! Each of us love cooking and this is going to bring out the chef - and competitive spirit - in each of us. We also come from really diverse culinary backgrounds, so it'll be really interesting what we'll learn about each other!

Where do your strengths lie in the kitchen?

I'm good with a rolling pin and I make some really great chapati bread - I've been making them since I was ten years old! But my husband also loves cooking and we complement each other very well in the kitchen.

Why should more leaders in the finance industry get involved this year?

I think all leaders should take part of group activities like cooking - it really shows another side of you and reveals your leadership style. If you work together well in the kitchen, you'll probably work well in the office too. And who doesn't want to cook with famous chefs!

Click here to support Heena!

Christopher Ruberry Christopher Ruberry
Head of Sell Side Business Australia, Bloomberg LP

What prompted you to become involved in the OzHarvest CEO CookOff?

OzHarvest presents a unique and wonderful opportunity to help feed and connect with those in need in our society, while also reducing food waste from landfill. Australians discard around 20% of the groceries we purchase, and this is a challenge to our environment. OzHarvest has set up an encouraging framework to help address these challenges, and this event is a great opportunity to lend a hand.

What are you expecting from the evening's event?

The 2018 event will be my first time in the CookOff and I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves, learning cooking tricks from the experts, chatting to people in our community and whipping up a tasty storm.

Where do your strengths lie in the kitchen?

I love a good slow cooked curry, and just breaking out the apron and giving it a go for a few hours on a late Saturday afternoon is fun. Of course, I must admit my wife has the natural talent when it comes to cooking.

Why should more leaders in the finance industry get involved this year?

Evidence shows we are wasting a large portion of the food in the supply chain and that there are those who are struggling with basic access to food. The finance industry touches many Australians, which gives us a unique opportunity to raise awareness of these challenges and the OzHarvest CookOff is a great starting point for this.

Click here to support Christopher!

David Larocca David Larocca

Partner, Managing Partner, Transaction Advisory Services, EY.

What prompted you to become involved in the OzHarvest CEO CookOff?

The CEO Cookoff is a great initiative and is a way of us giving back to those in society most vulnerable. Despite Australia’s relative wealth, many Australians go hungry on a daily basis. The Cookoff is great way for business to business leaders to connect with Australians doing it tough.

Why should more leaders in the finance industry get involved this year?

The role of business is changing and we are focused on building a better working world. It is now widely accepted that business has to do more than make a profit. It also must drive social and environmental change.

Click here to support David!

CEO Cook off

So, what are you waiting for...

Click here for more information about the CEO Cook-Off.

Click here to see a full list of all of this year's participants and the line-up of chefs.

(Pictured: OzHarvest CEO, Ronni Kahn with last year's entertainer, Jimmy Barnes.)



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