Chef Dave is back in the kitchen after transplant
A CHEF popular for his Mexican food and vibrant personality is back in the kitchen after having a lung transplant and stomach surgery.
Dave Lawrence and his partner Shamsi Kabarra have set up a new pop-up venture, The Two Amigos, which opens one night a week at the Royal Oak pub in Chipping Sodbury.
It marks a return to work less than a year after Dave, pictured above at work and in hospital, was taken seriously ill then lost his job in the space of a few weeks.
Shamsi said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support. Our first night was fully booked in less than an hour!”
Dave and Shamsi were first approached by the pub in January, while Dave was waiting for a transplant. He had lost his job when Chipping Sodbury Mexican restaurant Amigos closed.
Friends, neighbours and former customers rallied round to raise money to help with the family’s living costs as Dave was kept first at Southmead Hospital then the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
During the ups and downs of Dave’s recovery after his operation the idea was at the back of their minds, but then Dave had to have further surgery on his stomach.
Shamsi eventually reconsidered the pub's offer in July, when they were finally back home.
She said: “It was very difficult readjusting to life at home. Dave was still very poorly after his stomach surgery, I needed something to focus on, so I ploughed my attention into planning The Two Amigos.
In October a customer wanted to book the couple to cater for her friend’s hen night at the pub. Shamsi offered to do it – but the week before the event Dave stepped in.
Shamsi said: “Suddenly, he too had something else to focus on and it gave him an incredible boost. He was in his element being back in his chef’s whites and back in the kitchen.”
Dave still has to take things slowly, so the couple decided to build up his stamina by doing a pop up just once a week.
On Saturdays Dave spends time relaxing. The pop up will only run until the end of November because the pub has been fully booked for December for some time. However, if Dave continues to make good progress, the couple hope to open full-time early in the new year.
Shamsi said: “We’ve received so many messages, welcoming us back to Chipping Sodbury and saying how much we’ve been missed. It’s an amazing feeling.”