Give Ben Shewry a hug at River Graze

Published on March 22 2019.

Ben Shewry, chef and owner of Attica restaurant, is selling hugs at River Graze this weekend. For just $20, festival-goers can enjoy a cuddle with Australia’s top-rated chef and raise money for victims of last week’s shootings in Christchurch.

Shewry, a native of the south island of New Zealand, is setting up the hugging stall to promote a larger fundraising effort he is coordinating with some of Victoria’s top chefs at Attica next Saturday 30 March which will see them come together in an all-star bake-sale at the Ripponlea restaurant. There’ll be cheesecakes from Andrew McConnell and date tart from Neil Perry, chicken breakfast-sandwiches from Morgan McGlone of Belles and Vegemite scrolls from the Attica team.

“We have an epic line-up, and it’s going to be a positive day, one for which we can demonstrate together the love we all feel for other humans, no matter what their religion, their background or heritage,” says Shewry. 

That epic line-up includes Dave Verheul (Embla), Jo Barrett and Matt Stone (Oakridge Estate), Phil Wood (Pt Leo Estate), Kate and Cam Reid (Lune Croissant), Shannon Martinez (Smith & Daughters), Daniel Wilson (Huxtaburger), Peter Gunn (Ides), Ash and Gary McBean (Gary’s Meats), and Mia and Mike Russell (Baker Bleu), along with beer from Garage Project, art from Heesco, and coffee from Market Lane.

“Everyone participating is donating their time and all the food and drink and that means every single dollar handed to us by the public will go directly to the Givealittle fund set up by Victim Support in New Zealand for victims of the shootings,” says Shewry.

Likewise, every dollar from every hug he sells this Saturday 23 March at River Graze on the banks of the Yarra will go direct to the Victim Support fund – an initiative that has to date raised more than $7 million for the victims and families of the shootings in Christchurch.

“Our message is simple,” says Shewry. “Don’t hate – appreciate.” Come on Melbourne, let’s give him the squeeze he’s asking for.

Hugs for Christchurch

Noon to 3pm, Saturday 23 March at River Graze, on the banks of the Yarra from the Arts Centre to Crown Promenade, Southbank; $20 per hug, cash only.

Baking for Christchurch

9am to noon or sold out, Saturday 30 March at Attica, 74 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea; pastries and cakes sold by the piece, cash only.

To donate to Victim Support New Zealand direct, please visit Give A Little.