Friday last week, after a good feed, the whole agency headed down to Bondi. Swapping our computer mice for kitchen knives, we spent the afternoon cooking together.
As part of our Social Conscience Program, each year the agency organises for every staff member to donate their time to charity. This time, we chose to support Our Big Kitchen (OBK) which is a community kitchen in Bondi that nourishes, educates, supports and inspires people in need. The premise behind it is that; people and companies volunteer their time to cook food, package it up and then it gets distributed to people in need in and around Sydney.
George, a very passionate, warm-hearted man who runs the kitchen, welcomed us with a smile and began by giving us a quick intro to OBK and why it exists. He shared with us some very humbling stories and explained where the food we were about to prepare would be sent to and the difference it would make to the people receiving it.
After donning our aprons, and some rather fetching hair nets, we headed into the kitchen
Joey, another dedicated member of the OBK team, guided us as we chopped up potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, celery and squash (luckily no fingers) which, we then cooked into a tasty stew.
Once we had cleared up and wiped down after preparing the main course, we got into two groups to create dessert. One group was tasked with distributing cookie dough onto baking trays to make biscuits.
The other group set to work peeling apples to make the filling for apple strudels.
Filo pastry laid out, and egg wash at the ready, we began rolling up dozens of apple strudels ready to be transported along with the stew.
Once we finished, we sampled some of the food we had prepared and met one of the OBK founders, Rabbi Dovid Slavin who founded OBK in 2005 with his wife Laya Slavin. He told us about an app which OBK had recently had built. Our app designers and developers jumped at the chance to take a look and suggest improvements and enhancements.
After a brief interlude we went back to the kitchen to do the most important job of all – packaging up the meals. Forming a production line, we packed, stacked and labelled up the meals ready to be delivered in time for dinner.
We made over 200+ meals and desserts for people in the local community who wouldn't have had a hot meal that evening otherwise
The activity was very worthwhile and we all came away feeling we had really contributed and given something back.
To put in perspective, last year Our Big Kitchen made and distributed over 70,000 meals to people in need in and around Sydney. OBK relies on the generosity of companies and volunteers to be able to keep up their incredibly important work. If you would like to get involved or think it might be something your company would enjoy doing, get in touch with George and the team here.