Hospitality Business Magazine

Chef Ben Bayly Joins Fight Against Younger Onset Dementia

Auckland Chef and TV personality Ben Bayly has partnered with a new charity established as a fundraising initiative to help New Zealanders diagnosed with Younger Onset Dementia.

Season two volunteer, Innes Logan with Chef Ben Bayly.

Younger Onset Dementia is used to describe any form of dementia that develops in people under the age of 65. Dementia has been diagnosed in people in their 50s, 40s and even in their 30s. It is sometimes called early onset dementia.

Bayly, who is currently filming season two of A Restaurant That Makes Mistakes at his Auckland restaurant, Origine, was so moved by the volunteers and carer’s stories from both seasons he wanted to do more and as a result, the concept of Dining For Dementia was born.

The inaugural fundraising event will take place on Sunday June 9 at Origine, Bayly’s Commercial Bay bistro on Auckland’s waterfront, serving the best of New Zealand produce, inspired by classic French techniques.

The Walk & Fork Autumn Feast menu includes dishes adapted from the current Tasting Menu including: Baby baguette, lightly-salted cultured butter; Freshly shucked natural Te Matuku oysters with Meyer lemon; Pāua & Blue Cod pie; Duck & black truffle parfait, Sauternes jelly, brioche; Shaved cold-smoked salmon, New Zealand citrus, crème fraîche & chives; Braised lamb shank bourguignon, fricassée of garden leeks, potato purée and to finish, Origine’s fêted Chocolate eclair.

Tickets for the Walk & Fork standing event are $89 per person. The event starts at 5:00pm and concludes at 7:00pm. Producers, Great Southern TV will be filming the event, with 100 percent of the net profit raised from the ticket price on the night going to Dining For Dementia, and Origine will then match that amount.  

One of the objectives of Young Onset Dementia Collective charity is to fill a current service gap specifically for younger people living with dementia with age-appropriate opportunity and care.

The purpose of the Young Onset Dementia Collective is to keep people living with dementia connected and active within their communities, to provide opportunity for socialisation and wider visibility to help promote awareness and break down the stigma associated with dementia, specifically young onset.

Bayly, who lost his grandmother Joan to dementia, says for him, it’s about the volunteers and others living with dementia, and their carers, having a life beyond the show.

“How do we keep this conversation going and how does The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes have an impact beyond the show? The families are really struggling and there are not a lot of places for people with young onset dementia to go to interact, ” he says.

“While we’re the first to launch a Dining For Dementia fundraiser, this could go nationwide with the help of other hospitality supporters. It is my hope that other restaurants around the motu will come on board and host their own Dining For Dementia events, fundraisers or dinners.

The Young Onset Dementia Collective spokesperson Anne Logan is the wife of season two volunteer, Innes Logan. Only in his fifties, Innes once helmed a successful publishing company with Anne, before being diagnosed with young onset Alzheimer’s.

“The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes and all involved have made hope possible. It’s been a hugely positive experience for those appearing in the show, their carers and immediate family.

“This is a condition that reaches out and takes the best from people and their families. We hope this event will be the first of many more that will help provide resources for people living with this condition and their loved ones,” she says.

Tickets for the fundraiser can be purchased via the Origine website here. Special thanks have been expressed by Ben Bayly to the generous support of Origine’s suppliers and producers, for contributing to this cause: Huia wines, Chatham Island Seafood Company, Akaroa Salmon, Provenance Lamb.

Dementia services currently rely on donations to survive. For more information on The Young Onset Dementia Collective and Dining For Dementia go to the Auckland Foundation website here.