Dale, COOK’s co-founder and kitchen magician, explains how some leftovers led to one of our most enduring and rewarding partnerships.
Keeping food waste to a minimum not only makes good business sense, but it’s the right thing to do. But no matter how careful we are in the COOK kitchen, it’s inevitable that there are some leftovers.
When we moved to our new kitchens in Sittingbourne in 2007 and tripled our batch size, the leftovers increased too. I couldn’t stand to see all that lovely food go to waste so I got in touch with Caring Hands in the Community, a church-based charity based in Rochester that my sister told me about. From Monday to Friday they feed around 100 people a day with breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea and, as you might expect, were very keen to take the food we weren’t using. So we kitted them out with a couple of freezers. Now, whenever we have leftovers from a batch of meals – be it meat, vegetables, potatoes or sauce – instead of it becoming food waste, we freeze it and dispatch it to them.
This has completely changed their cost base and we have become an integral part of their operation. The food frees them up to invest more in the other important services they provide, like access to the internet, medical support, clean clothes, showering facilities and help in claiming benefits and housing.
We also supply two members of staff on a Friday to help in their kitchen. For the last two years, myself and a small group from COOK have supplied and cooked Christmas dinner, too. They are an amazing bunch of people who really do make a difference to people’s lives – in fact, a few people that they've helped have come on to work with us. So it’s been a rewarding relationship for everyone.
We’re very proud to be working with them and support the fantastic work that they do.