Brigade is a social enterprise restaurant housed in a unique social enterprise hub in The Fire Station on Tooley Street, London, SE1.
First, it is a British inspired Bistro serving delicious, seasonal and sustainably sourced dishes. Second it is a training kitchen which provides apprenticeships that help the homeless develop skills and motivation to find employment.
The Fire Station on Tooley Street is one of the oldest fire stations in London and was built when the London Fire Brigade was formed following the great fire of Tooley Street. Read more about the history of the Fire Station.
Brigade is part of Beyond Food Community Interest Company (CIC), a unique collaboration between PwC, De Vere Venues, Beyond Food and Big Issue Invest. Beyond Food CIC inspires people who are at risk of or have experienced homelessness to gain meaningful employment. Beyond Food runs a series of training programmes which culminate in 6 month apprenticeships in the Brigade kitchen followed by 7 months in another professional kitchen in London. At the end of 13 months our apprentices attain an NVQ level 2 diploma in professional cooking and we help them find long term employment in hospitality.
Since opening in 2011, Beyond Food has helped countless vulnerable people, some of whom were sleeping rough when they joined the programme. Most were living in hostels and a large number were ex-offenders or had issues with substance abuse. We’re passionate about inspiring people to a life beyond homelessness.
We hope you enjoy your visit to Brigade, whether it is to sample our British inspired menu, share a drink with friends in our bar, use our meeting space for an event or engage in teambuilding in our cook school.
Welcome to Brigade!
At Brigade, outstanding food does more than just provide pleasure, it also creates new opportunities, new experiences and most of all, new connections.
We run four programmes that use food as a catalyst to motivate and inspire people. Our programmes are: Freshlife, Get Stuck In, the United Kitchen Apprenticeship and Out Front.
Our programmes have grown from Chef Founder Simon Boyle’s food philosophy that food nourishes relationships. Throughout the programmes participants learn how to interact with each other, get to meet new people, and visit new places as well as gaining valuable employability skills, gaining confidence and boosting self-esteem.
For some, Freshlife can act as a trigger for change within themselves, acting as the first step to reengaging with society, whilst for others it can give them the confidence and passion for cooking that is needed in order to start thinking about employment and moving their lives forward.
To find out more about the programmes we offer, visit Beyond Food.
The fire at Cottons Wharf on Tooley Street, on 22 June 1861, was seen as the worst in history since The Great Fire of London. Just 30 minutes passed from the discovery of smoke at a warehouse to the fire burning out of control, soon stretching from London Bridge to Customs House. Engines arrived from all over the country to help the LFEE, but it still took two weeks to put the fire out.
The fire led to a big social change. Its huge cost forced insurance companies to tell the Home Secretary that they could no longer be responsible for the fire safety of London.
This piece of history led to the creation of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade in 1865.
The Fire Station in Tooley Street was built as part of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade in 1879 to save lives and protect property. Today, we’re using the same values of business sense and social responsibility to make it a vibrant and authentic venue. It means a fresh start for this historic building and a new future for all the vulnerable people who train with us and go on to long-term employment.
Our current apprentices joined Brigade’s kitchen in September 2016. In March, they’ll leave us to continue their training with one of our employment partners where they will complete their NVQ Level 2 diploma in professional cooking.
When you dine with us, please say hello if you see them in our open kitchen.
“I’m really looking forward to completing the course and continuing my career.”
“I’m finally on the right path, doing what I love- working with food!”
“This is an amazing opportunity for me to learn some new skills.”
“I’m so excited to be working in the hustle and bustle of the kitchen.”
“I can’t wait to reach my full potential.”
“This is a great chance to gain new qualifications and work in a professional kitchen.”
“I just love waking up every morning and seeing my lovely ‘cheeky’ children.”
“This is my chance to push myself to the limit, and beyond!”
“I’m loving learning new techniques and working in an open kitchen.”