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Joanna Lumley OBE, Philip Lymbery (CEO of Compassion in World Farming), and River Cottage Founder Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall with some of the innovative dishes created for The Savoy's first ever vegan banquet.
Joanna Lumley OBE, Philip Lymbery (CEO of Compassion in World Farming), and River Cottage Founder Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall with some of the innovative dishes created for The Savoy's first ever vegan banquet.

Press release -

Landmark event shows how eating more plants can save the planet


On the evening of Monday 26th November, an industry networking organisation, Women in Advertising and Communications in London (WACL) hosted the first, major vegan banquet at The Savoy, London which is also believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.

'I am thrilled to be part of this ground-breaking, plant-based WACL dinner at the Savoy. The food was original and absolutely delicious ' Joanna Lumley

'With every passing day, more evidence mounts of the need to rethink our food if we are to save the planet for future generations. We need to reduce meat consumption in favour of more plants and better quality non-factory farmed meat, milk and eggs. Eating more plants and less and better meat and dairy would solve many of the world’s most urgent problems. This evening’s banquet demonstrated how utterly delicious that can be! Philip Lymbery, CEO, Compassion in World Farming

'Apparently a vegan feast on this scale is a first for the Savoy, and possibly for UK hotel banqueting. I’m thrilled about that. And I’ll make sure it won’t be the last' Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Founder River Cottage

'WACL is delighted to have hosted such a unique and historic evening. The combination of delicious vegan food and wine, stimulating and informative talks from Philip and Hugh, topped off with the legendary Joanna Lumley on such sparkling form will stay forever in our memories' Pippa Glucklich, WACL President and CEO of Amplifi, part of the Dentsu Aegis Network

Driven by the critical need to move to a more sustainable food system with less meat and dairy in our diet, WACL had invited Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion in World Farming to put together a landmark event to remember. Philip's inspired idea was to undertake the first ever plant-based banquet to be held at the Savoy in order to start a dialogue with the high profile, professional guests present about the future of protein and the wider implications for animals and people on the planet. Philip invited two of the international charities valued Patrons, Joanna Lumley OBE and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, asking Hugh to show how eating plants can not only save the planet but be completely and utterly enjoyable.

WACL, a highly respected members club of some 95 years standing and comprising 200 of the most senior and influential women within the communications industry, set about helping Philip stage this unique evening to create change, confront prejudices and challenge business minds. As a result, on Monday night and for the first time in history, London's most famous hotel, The Savoy served a sit-down, plant-based banquet in their beautiful ballroom to 400 high profile, professional guests. As well as Philip Lymbery, Joanna Lumley and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the diners included celebrities, WACL club members and their guests; the vast majority of whom were CEO's and Directors representing some of the world’s leading companies, including all the major food and drink businesses.

Speaking at the dinner Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion in World Farming and author of Dead Zone: Where the Wild Things Were said 'With every passing day, more evidence mounts of the need to rethink diets rich in meat and milk if we are to save the planet for future generations. What is becoming increasingly clear is that the future of protein is evolving. That the idea of eating more plants, together with new innovations like ‘clean’ meat from stem cells, is becoming so mainstream that some of the world’s biggest meat companies are now investing in protein’s new frontier. And rightly so, because time is running out to solve some of the biggest questions of wildlife declines and sustainability that are made so much worse by run-away factory farming to produce cheap meat, milk and eggs.'

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his hugely talented River Cottage chefs were thrilled to be asked to create and cook the organic vegan banquet. The team came up from their River Cottage HQ restaurant and cookery school on the Dorset/Devon border to work with the Savoy kitchen. Hugh took to the stage before dinner to delight the guests with details of the specially crafted vegan menu and wines and to share his ethos on the future of our food including his war on waste. Recycled cardboard boxes were even supplied at the end of the meal with surplus food from the evening, for guests to enjoy at home.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said 'It’s always a pleasure to collaborate with Compassion in World Farming - they are doing so much great work to highlight the problems caused by our voracious global appetite for meat. That’s why it’s been such a buzz for our River Cottage chefs to create this completely vegan menu. And it’s been brilliant to work alongside the talented team at the Savoy. Most people know that I’m not a vegan - and of course the Savoy is not a vegan hotel. But we still recognise how vital it is for our planet, and for the welfare of our livestock, that plants are front and centre in our cooking. We wanted to celebrate the fantastic diversity of vegan food - which gives us free reign with spices and seeds along with our favourite seasonal English roots, fruits and leaves and some foraged delights too. Apparently a vegan feast on this scale is a first for the Savoy, and possibly for UK hotel banqueting. I’m thrilled about that. And I’ll make sure it won’t be the last.'

The evening closed with Joanna Lumley, who brought the curtain down on the historic night. Joanna, fresh from her tour 'It's All About Me', was clearly on top form and Compassion in World Farming and WACL were delighted that she took the time to be present on such a special night. Joanna, who shared her thoughts on why we urgently need to change our dietary habits, added, 'I am thrilled to be part of this ground-breaking plant-based WACL dinner at the Savoy. The food was original and absolutely delicious. I’ve always loved Compassion in World Farming’s amazingly successful campaigning to end factory farming and am proud to be a Compassion Patron . With deforestation, ocean pollution and climate change sending us all a wake-up call, it’s time for us all to change our habits, including our diets. As ever, Compassion in World Farming is leading the way!'

The Menu for the Evening comprised:-

- Beetroot hummus with dukka, sourdough and crudities

- Salt baked celeriac, celeriac puree, pickled girolle, sloe olives, red wine braised radicchio

- Smoked onions stuffed with spiced squash, hazelnuts, smoky seaweed jus

Root vegetable "dauphinoise"

Cavolo Nero with apple, chilli, walnuts and English red lentils

Raw cauliflower, orange and pumpkin seed salad

- Chocolate and Somerset cider brandy torte with orange and star anise baked pears, red wine pear and thyme ice cream, cashew cream



For more information, photos (see links below) or for interviews with Pippa Glucklich, Philip Lymbery and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall please email: or call 07580 555152 (on the evening of 26/11/18) or thereafter or call 01403 700739 or 07966 446478

Hashtag for the Dinner #ForTheLoveOfLife

  • Joanna Lumley: Joanna was making her first public engagement following the ITV Silk Road adventures and UK wide public speaking tour 'It's All About Me'. The legendary actress, former model, BAFTA winner, author, animal advocate and activist was interviewed on the night by the TV and radio presenter and novelist, Francine Stock. Joanna has won two BAFTA's for her role as Patsy Stone in the famous BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. She's been nominated for a Tony Award, received the Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards and last year was honoured with the BAFTA Fellowship award. She is also widely respected for her work and passion for animal welfare and human rights.
  • Philip Lymbery: Philip is CEO of Compassion in World Farming, the world's leading farm animal welfare organisation. Philip is also visiting Professor at the University of Winchester and Vice-President of Eurogroup for Animals, Brussels. He is an award winning author, ornithologist, photographer, naturalist and animal advocate. Described as one of the food industry's most influential people, he has spearheaded Compassion's engagement work with over 800 food companies worldwide, leading to real improvements in the lives of over a billion farm animals every year. His awards include: The Observer Ethical Award for Campaigner of the Year, BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming award for Best Campaigner and Educator, Recipient of the 'outstanding campaigning' award by Brussels based Eurogroup for Animals and The 2015 'International Golden Dove' peace prize in Rome.
  • Twitter: @philip_ciwf
  • Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: Hugh is a multi-award-winning writer and broadcaster widely known for his uncompromising commitment to seasonal, ethically produced food and reducing food waste. He has earned a huge following through his River Cottage TV series and his broadcasting has earned him a BAFTA as well as awards from Radio 4, The Observer and the Guild of Food Writers. Hugh’s TV work includes hard-hitting campaigns such as Chicken Out! which helped increase the proportion of higher welfare chicken sold in the UK and the hugely influential Fish Fight, which brought about changes in law at the European level.

About WACL

WACL is an industry networking organisation that brings together the most senior female leaders in marketing and communications. Its members are drawn from brands, media owners, advertising and media agencies, and other industry businesses, and their purpose is to accelerate gender equality in communications and marketing. To deliver this they focus on inspiration, support and campaigning

WACL has been holding regular dinners at The Savoy since 1923 for members and their guests (a male and female, mainly C-Suite audience). The business leaders, opinion formers and thought leaders come to network and to hear from inspirational speakers who have included several Prime Ministers, to most recently Dave Lewis, CEO of Tesco.

This gathering of ‘hard to reach’ business leaders, is an audience very interested in consumer trends and what is shaping our collective futures. Guests are likely to include the media, senior management of the major supermarkets, some of the world’s leading food and drink businesses - and many other high-profile UK and global brands. Twitter: @WACL1

About Compassion in World Farming

Compassion in World Farming was founded in 1967 by a British dairy farmer who became horrified at the development of intensive factory farming. Today Compassion is the leading farm animal welfare organisation dedicated to ending factory farming and achieving humane and sustainable food. With headquarters in the UK, we have offices across Europe, in the US, China and South Africa.www.ciwf.orgTwitter: @ciwf

Instagram: @ciwf


About River Cottage

River Cottage has been a household name in Britain since 1999, when Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall first brought his hands-on, ethical food ethos to our TV screens. Since then, the River Cottage books, TV series and Hugh’s hard-hitting campaigns have changed the eating habits of the nation, as well as improving the welfare of our farm animals and the sustainability of our fish.

River Cottage HQ, situated on the Devon-Dorset border, is a thriving organic smallholding. It’s also home to a cookery school and chefs' school, and the base for unique dining experiences and events including weddings and private parties. There are River Cottage Kitchens in Axminster, Bristol and Winchester. These award-winning restaurants and delis manifest the River Cottage philosophy by using the very best seasonal ingredients from the surrounding area. Alongside fresh, seasonal fruit, veg and wild foods, the Kitchen menus showcase fish and shellfish from West Country day boats and organic meat and dairy products from local farms. Twitter: @rivercottage

Instagram: @rivercottagehq Pinterest: @rivercottagehq



  • 74 billion farm animals are reared and slaughtered worldwide every year
  • About two-thirds are estimated to be factory farmed
  • The global livestock industry is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouses gas emissions
  • Factory farming is not only the biggest cause of animal cruelty on the planet, it is also a major driver of wildlife declines. As agriculture expands, using ever more chemical pesticides and fertilisers, so wildlife is squeezed out
  • Nearly half the world's useable land surface is used for agriculture - yet meat and milk provide little more than a quarter of humanity's protein supply. Although little recognised, the fact is that most of humanity's protein today comes from plants
  • An area of arable land the size of EU is devoted to growing industrial animal feed for the world's factory farms
  • Forest half the size of England is cleared every year for farmland
  • 70 per cent freshwater used for agriculture
  • Industrial agriculture is so damaging that the United Nations warns that soil erosion and depletion at current rates could mean we have just 60 harvests left in global soils. No soil, no food
  • An extra45 billion more farm animals are expected per year by 2050
  • If we follow ‘business as usual’ then we expect to see the loss of a fifth of forests globally
  • At current projected levels of fishing, commercial fishing is set to run out by 2048
  • ‘Business as usual’ (BAU) on food/farming alone gets us to 2 degrees on climate
  • Climate change will alter water cycles, forests, ecosystems
  • Wildlife is disappearing 1,000 times faster than ‘normal’
  • Total number of wild animals will halve in 40 years
  • Two-thirds of wildlife loss driven by food production
  • Two degree ‘safe limit’ on climate change = extinction for one third species
  • Industrial meat and dairy industries are on track to surpass the fossil fuel industry as the world's biggest contributors to climate change. For every 1 billion people on this planet we need 10 billion farm animals, it cannot be sustained.



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