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Cooking with kindness: culinary masters feed hungry Aussies during pandemic

TWENTY world-renowned chefs, including former MasterChef contestant Courtney Roulston, prepared healthy gourmet meals for one thousand hungry Australians yesterday.

The three-course extravaganza meals, donated by French culinary master Le Cordon Bleu Australia, were distributed to five charities in Sydney on International Chefs Day, October 20.

The cook-up coincided with the release of Foodbank Australia’s annual Hunger Report which highlighted around 1.2 million children, and one in six adults, have gone hungry since the start of the pandemic.

Despite Australia producing enough food in this country to “feed ourselves three times over”, Foodbank distributed more food in the past 12 months than in any time in its history, to more than a million people a month.

“We have to look at all aspects of mental health and wellbeing for Australian children and we know that having enough access to enough food and the right food is critical to a child’s ability to thrive,” Foodbank Australia chief Brianna Casey said. 

“The fallout of the pandemic has driven home to all of us how easy it is for people to become vulnerable,” Ms Casey added.

“We have seen first-hand people who have lost their jobs and income or have been caught in a hard lockdown unable to access the food they need for their families.

“Every day brings a new set of challenges, but Foodbank is determined to continue doing what we do best, not just during the crisis phase, but well into recovery, on top of our better-known role of providing food relief to those struggling with poverty and inequality during normal times,”

Our Big Kitchen, a community-run, non-denomination industry kitchen in Sydney, who distributed over 200,000 meals to disadvantaged Australians last year, has partnered up with Le Cordon Bleu to tackle hunger.

Rabbi Dr David Slavin, founding director of Our Big Kitchen, said we were thrilled when Le Cordon Bleu Australia approached us about partnering with them for International Chefs Day.

“We are extremely humbled to have such a fantastic team of chefs, along with Courtney’s experience to prepare one thousand meals for Aussies in need”, Rabbi Slavin said.

Danny Salsbury, community outreach coordinator with The Salvation Army, was grateful to be able to collect 200 meals which were distributed across Sydney’s CBD.

“We’re very thankful to Our Big Kitchen who has been supplying The Salvation Army with meals for five years,” Danny said.

“To provide a little Le Cordon Bleu culinary flair in the meals we give to those in need will certainly help brighten their day.”

Bear Cottage, Wagec Women’s Refuge, Tribal Warriors and Newtown Greek Community Centre were the other food charities that received much-needed meals.

You can read Foodbank’s latest Hunger Report on their website, located under Research and Reports.

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Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities.

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