Top chef scoops Mitzvah Day 2024 award

Interfaith projects were celebrated at the ceremony


Chef Jasvinder Singh (right), who picked up the Outstanding Individual Mitzvah Day Award with Nina Parmar, both of whom work at Sufra NW London. The charity also picked up Beneficiary Charity Award

A cordon bleu-trained chef, who spent years working in top restaurants all over the world before giving it all up to run community kitchens, has scooped the top Mitzvah Day award.

Jasvinder Singh, who runs five kitchens for Sufra NW London, based in one of the most disadvantaged areas of Brent, told the JC that he was “surprised” to have won the Outstanding Individual Award, “but it feels good”.

The 48-year-old, who moved to the UK from Malaysia at the age of 23, said that after taking his culinary skills across the globe, working at Sufra, was “a way of giving back to the community,” adding: “Not everyone can afford to go to nice restaurants, but I believe in giving fresh food to everyone, which is nicely presented.”

This was the first year that Jasvinder had taken part in Mitzvah Day, when a team of volunteers from different religious backgrounds cooked over 200 three-course meals for local people in need.

Sufra was started in 2013 to respond to both the causes and consequences of impoverishment in the community and works with local families living in poverty, asylum seekers, refugees and people experiencing homelessness and social isolation.

Nina Parmar, the food aid manager at Sufra NW London, which also won a Beneficiary Charity Award, said that they joined Mitzvah Day after the organisation’s team came down to see Sufra NW London and spent the day cooking with them.

She said: “The charity is secular, and our volunteers are of all faiths and none. It’s just a human thing to want to volunteer and give back to others, supporting those who might not have as much as you do.”

Also celebrating receiving an Outstanding Individual Award was Rachel Ucko, head of Jewish living and community at Kisharon Langdon. She told the JC that Mitzvah Day was an opportunity “to show the community that learning disabilities shouldn’t be a barrier to contributing and giving back to the community and helping others”.

Rachel ran a range of Mitzvah Day projects with Kisharon Langdon volunteers, which included collecting and sorting toiletries for Sebby’s Corner, flower arranging with Jewish Care residents, collecting for Food Bank Aid with Etz Chaim primary school and playing a football match with young Jewish adults. “Barriers were overcome and people we support felt included in community life.”

Describing Rachel as “one of those unsung heroes - the invisible glue which holds our community together”, CEO of Kisharon Langdon Richard Franklin said after the awards: "Rachel has brought learning disabilities and autism to the forefront and the importance of recognising that everyone can contribute, in accordance with the best values and traditions.”

Kisharon Langdon also won a Beneficiary Charity Award.

The Awards ceremony, held at South Hampstead Synagogue, saw over 100 Mitzvah Day project leaders, coordinators and volunteers from the Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Sikh communities come together.

Opening the event, Mitzvah Day chair Laura Marks CBE said: “We had over 100 entries for these awards, and the reason that we hold them is because so many people put in so much effort for Mitzvah Day and tonight helps us celebrate, engage with and inspire each other.

She added that the what made the awards ceremony “even more special is seeing so many people from other faiths and communities here with us. Mitzvah Day is all about being together and showing that united we are stronger, we are better, and we can make a real difference in our local communities.”

There was also a panel discussion, introduced by Claudia Mendoza, CEO of the JLC and moderated by Laurie Shone, Mitzvah Day projects and partnership manager. 

The panellists were Matthew Gold from Faith & Belief Forum, Julie Siddiqi MBE, social entrepreneur, gender equality campaigner and community organiser, Es Rosen, president of Barnet Multi-Faith Forum and an Interfaith Network trustee, Rabbi Josh Levy, co-lead of Progressive Judaism and Rosie Tharp from the London Borough of Camden.

The award winners were decided by a mix of public ballot, with more than 1,000 people voting, and a panel headed by Mitzvah Day CEO Stuart Diamond – leading to two victors in most of the categories.

The JC sponsored the Outstanding Youth Achievement Award, which was won by Project ImpACT and Holy Trinity & St Silas Primary School.

The full list of winners and nominees is below:


Sponsored by Selborne Chambers


Maidenhead Synagogue

South Hampstead Synagogue


Jewish Blind and Disabled

St Albans Masorti Synagogue (SAMS)

Stanmore and Canons Park Synagogue

Manchester Intra-faith

Otto Schiff Care Home Residents

North West Surrey Synagogue



Supported by the Rachel Charitable Trust


Rachel Ucko

Chef Jasvinder Singh


Pete Simms

Dan Ozarow

Alexandra Domingue

Ingrid Segal

Owen Power

Adrienne Pool

Maureen Vanderberg

Melanie Barnett



Supported by the Anglo-Jewish Association


Woodside Park Synagogue



Alyth Synagogue

Progressive Jewish Link Northern Ireland

Winchester Jewish Community

York Liberal Jewish Community

Watford and District Synagogue

Hampstead United Synagogue



Sponsored by The Benefact Group

All winners:

Kisharon Langdon

Sufra NW London Community Kitchen

Sebby’s Corner

The Separated Child Foundation

PJ Library

The Woodland Trust

The Passage



Sponsored by Edwin and Ester Shuker


Union of Jewish Women – Johannesburg, South Africa

Maccabi Ukraine


Mitzvah Day Hagoschrim – Switzerland

Mitzvah Day Lazos

JCC Budapest

Mitzvah Day Brazil

Jewish Liberal Community of Cologne Gescher LaMassoret Ev

National Council of Jewish Women of Canada

Jewish Care Victoria – Australia



Sponsored by The Jewish Chronicle


Project ImpACT

Holy Trinity & St Silas Primary School


Shoresh Nursery

Huddersfield JSoc

Kisharon Langdon and Etz Chaim Primary School

South Hampstead High School

Southgate Progressive Synagogue

Alma Primary School

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