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Ready, Steady, Cook Challenge

Partners preparing great meals with City Harvest Surplus Food

Every week the City Harvest team receives an exciting report about the brilliant community meals prepared for socially isolated individuals at the FoodCycle Hub in Finsbury. This organisation, one of the hundreds that receive our weekly deliveries, enables guests to eat well and learn about preparing fresh, health-enhancing meals on their own. City Harvest never know what food we’re going to drop off—it depends on the donations made by our food donor partners that day, and the hub’s menus vary depending on the ethnic mix of the weekly volunteers who come in to cook the exciting meals. So when the day begins and our van arrives at the FoodCycle hub it’s a big question mark!

 

Here’s what unfolded on sunny Saturday in June as told by Peter Bradley, a volunteer chef at City Harvest partner Foodcycle.

“What I like about my work as a Foodcycle cookery leader is the Ready, Steady, Cook challenge you set us each week. We never know what food we will get from City Harvest, how many we have to cook for and we have just two hours to get a healthy 3 course vegetarian meal prepared.


A few things that make Foodcycle so different and why I am such a passionate supporter:
unlike foodbanks, our hub is open to anyone who would benefit from a nutritious, 3 course meal. The aim is to tackle food waste, food poverty and loneliness by building communities. The reason I started sending City Harvest reports after our community meals was to thank the lovely team of drivers and the companies that donate their surplus stock which makes our task so much easier and greatly improves our guests experience.

 
We also have an amazing bunch of enthusiastic volunteers who have a passion for cooking and as we say in Rotary, “help make the world a better place”. What makes it all worthwhile is what we hear from our guests. They not only notice how their health has improved by eating fresh fruit and veg, but also how easy it is to eat healthy and cheaply. That’s why we give them the recipes to try at home.


A good example of the exciting ingredients we receive is what arrived this week: two types of artichoke - globe and Jerusalem. The mix of healthy donated surplus food delivered by City Harvest introduces volunteers to new vegetables and enables them to share recipes amongst them. I would like to mention that nothing is wasted - whatever we don’t use for the meals is put in goodie bags for guests to take away with them.


We must serve the best tea and coffees in the charity sector: real coffee and amazing pastries including this week’s fabulous macaroons. The treats that are part of the deliveries are very much appreciated by our guests, especially those with children.


We were short staffed in the desert department and Debbie, one of the Lovely City Harvest drivers, suggested we could serve the lux panatone with the custard. But that was a bit easy for our brilliant and creative Pari so her desert was a pear and panatone bake with caramelised medlars.


For a starter we made a broccoli and cauliflower soup. The main course was a vegetable garden served with a beetroot yogurt for which we were able to use all the amazing root vegetables including the Jerusalem artichokes and the supersized swedes which meant we were close to recycling over 200 kilos of food.
 

On this particular Saturday we served 50 including our volunteers who are encouraged to sit with our guests, as part of the aim of the charity is to tackle loneliness and build communities. Half our guests live alone and they really enjoy the interaction with the other guests and our amazing volunteers."

“What I like about my work as a Foodcycle cookery leader is the Ready, Steady, Cook challenge you set us each week. We never know what food we will get from City Harvest, how many we have to cook for and we have just two hours to get a healthy 3 course vegetarian meal prepared.

A few things that make Foodcycle so different and why I am such a passionate supporter:
unlike foodbanks, our hub is open to anyone who would benefit from a nutritious, 3 course meal. The aim is to tackle food waste, food poverty and loneliness by building communities. The reason I started sending City Harvest reports after our community meals was to thank the lovely team of drivers and the companies that donate their surplus stock which makes our task so much easier and greatly improves our guests experience.

 
We also have an amazing bunch of enthusiastic volunteers who have a passion for cooking and as we say in Rotary, “help make the world a better place”. What makes it all worthwhile is what we hear from our guests. They not only notice how their health has improved by eating fresh fruit and veg, but also how easy it is to eat healthy and cheaply. That’s why we give them the recipes to try at home.


A good example of the exciting ingredients we receive is what arrived this week: two types of artichoke - globe and Jerusalem. The mix of healthy donated surplus food delivered by City Harvest introduces volunteers to new vegetables and enables them to share recipes amongst them. I would like to mention that nothing is wasted - whatever we don’t use for the meals is put in goodie bags for guests to take away with them.


We must serve the best tea and coffees in the charity sector: real coffee and amazing pastries including this week’s fabulous macaroons. The treats that are part of the deliveries are very much appreciated by our guests, especially those with children.


We were short staffed in the desert department and Debbie, one of the Lovely City Harvest drivers, suggested we could serve the lux panatone with the custard. But that was a bit easy for our brilliant and creative Pari so her desert was a pear and panatone bake with caramelised medlars.


For a starter we made a broccoli and cauliflower soup. The main course was a vegetable garden served with a beetroot yogurt for which we were able to use all the amazing root vegetables including the Jerusalem artichokes and the supersized swedes which meant we were close to recycling over 200 kilos of food.
 

On this particular Saturday we served 50 including our volunteers who are encouraged to sit with our guests, as part of the aim of the charity is to tackle loneliness and build communities. Half our guests live alone and they really enjoy the interaction with the other guests and our amazing volunteers."

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