Celebrity chef Aldo Zilli turned the spotlight on food waste in support of Jewish Child's Day on Tuesday night.
Addressing 200 guests at JCD's third annual dinner, held at the Avenue ballroom on Regent's Park Road, Mr Zilli recounted his own poverty-stricken upbringing in Italy.
"No child deserves to go hungry like I did," he said. "Growing up as the youngest of nine children, food was at a premium. I started learning to cook with my mum when I was eight because I was starving.
"Food is a drug. We need to treat it with respect. It is shocking what we waste."
Mr Zilli also urged JCD supporters to put their money where their mouths were by inviting them to bid for his culinary services for a night. After a lively auction, Graham Edwards and Gabriella Mandel pledged £5,000 and £4,500 respectively, the money helping to swell the evening's proceeds to £150,000, which will go towards food, clothing and after-school care for children in the UK, Israel and other Jewish communities worldwide.
JCD executive director Melanie Klass told diners that it also aided smaller charities which were unable to fundraise.
"In 2014, children are still going hungry," she said. "We hear it in the media but the actual subject only resonates for about 30 seconds. Poverty doesn't discriminate.
"Please help us to never say never to a child in need. If we don't help our children, who will?"