Ladies who “Cook and Lunch” raise over £15,000 19 September 2012 Press Release High profile author and chef Katie Caldesi was joined by over 200 guests at the ‘Cook, Taste, Share’ recipe book launch yesterday. The event, which raised in excess of £15,000 for Norwood and the Israel Cancer Association was organised by the Cooking Lunch Girls. Guests at the fundraiser tucked in to a spread of delicious salads, fish dishes and desserts, before hearing from special guest Katie and her husband Giancarlo Caldesi. The event was hosted at Varda Aaron’s home in Hampstead Garden Suburb. Proceeds from book sales are to be split down the middle between two charities, the Israel Cancer Association and The Hope Centre at Norwood, which provides services for children and young people with a wide range of learning disabilities and educational needs. Evette Simmonds, a member of the Cooking Lunch Girls group and one of the founders of Norwood’s Hope Centre, said: "I am thrilled with the success of today’s book launch as over 200 guests attended and the book was a sell-out! “We were delighted to have had Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi with us today, and we are grateful to everyone who came and supported two extremely worthy causes. I would like to thank The Cooking Lunch Girls for their hard work and for supporting Hope at Norwood. Norwood is a Charity which is especially close to my heart and I know that the money raised will help change the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our community." Katie Caldesi, who runs the Caldesi Cucini Italian cooking school along with her husband, and has appeared on cookery programmes including Masterchef and Saturday Kitchen, said: "I know first-hand how difficult it is to have an idea and follow it through and am extremely impressed by ‘Cook, Taste, Share,’ and the Cooking Lunch Girls’ enthusiasm and keenness to learn. I am happy to be here today to support them and two fantastic charities."