After 10 very successful years cooking the best Salt Beef in London for the loyal fans of Chelsea Football club, entertaining Royality, catering countless Weddings and more importantly training and employing 30 ex-service personnel from each of the Tri-Forces, The Beef Kitchen’s Founder and driving force Bob Barrett took the difficult decision to retire in 2015.

But because Bob is Bob this didn’t mean an end to the project. Bob Barrett didn’t set up The Beef Kitchen for his benefit, it was always a social enterprise run for ex-military men and women by ex-military men and women and as such Bob knew it had to have a legacy.

It was for this reason that in May Bob gave the entire enterprise, premises and equipment of The Beef Kitchen to Ian Camps, one of our longest serving Apprentices.

Not only did Ian inherit £30,000 worth of equipment but also the good will of a not-for-profit business that had fed tens of thousands of football fans for over a decade and Bob’s expertise and advice. By giving Ian the tools and infrastructure to run his own business Bob has left a legacy, a legacy that means a veteran can support himself and his family, can continue to build on the renewed self-esteem The Beef Kitchen helped him to find and to continue to help Ian’s transition from the military to working civilian life.

Ian now trades as The Veteran’s Kitchen, from the same spot in front of Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions as The Beef Kitchen did for 10 years.

On a personal note, and because I think this appropriate and worthy of note, it has been a privilege to work alongside Bob Barrett for the 3 years that I have known him. In that time I saw a man capable of huge inspiration; a man so determined to give other people a second chance that he would let nothing stand in his way; a generous man who always put other people first; a man who’s intuition and entrepreneurial endeavour saw him train and employ 30 veterans, feed the hungry hordes of an elite premier league football team, cater for Royalty and launch his very own national range of condiments and all from the confines of a wheelchair.

There aren’t enough people in the world like Bob Barrett but at least there is one.

Ed Sargent