We’ve been running Back In The Kitchen cooking club for nearly a year now. A lively Monday morning “drop in” for over 55’s – full of banter and good honest cooking from scratch. In the beginning it was just Barny, one 'student' and one volunteer. Despite all the posters, tweets and newsletters, no one else turned up. Luckily, Barny isn't easily disheartened and with our friends at LinkAge Bristol on the case, it wasn't long before the word got out and we were soon over-run.
Today, Back in the Kitchen is a buzzing, thriving class, with firm friendships formed, skills learnt/re-learnt, new recipes tried and many meals shared.
“Monday mornings are the highlight of my week – I look forward to cooking so much, it makes me really happy” Sally*
“I couldn’t boil an egg before I came here. Now I regularly cook for my wife at home, scones, shepherd’s pie, all sorts” Tom*
“This is an inspiring place, full of good people” John*
This week we tried something new, we ran a pilot Lunch Club in collaboration with Linkage and our landlords, The Park This is an exciting development. Firstly it puts our club cooks to the test of “service” (at which they excelled) and secondly it brings new people together to enjoy a home cooked meal.
12 guests. 6 Back in The Kitchen class cooks. A menu of minced beef, new potatoes, summer vegetables and a summer fruit tart. A lovely space provided by The Park. White table cloth, flowers, cooking & service by the Back in the Kitchen class.
'Went like clockwork. There was a sense of this having the potential to become something special. For SFF, LinkAge, The Park and for everyone involved. For it to become a regular event in which to eat great food, share food experiences and explore ideas for the future; Autumn, for Christmas, at The Park, foraging in the woods…. All ideas welcome.' Barny
At Square Food, we know food is the great leveller – a simple way of bringing people together, and Monday proved that philosophy a hundred times over. We were delighted to be joined by local Councillor Chris Jackson who generously pushed back a meeting at City Hall to make time for a quick bite.
“Cooked impeccably” lunch club guest
“Excellent food, excellent company” lunch club guest
All pictures, courtesy of LinkAge
We’re making plans for the Autumn about how to take this forward, and our guinea pigs, ahem - guests, gave glowing praise for both the food and the idea. They especially enjoyed being able to sit down with the cooks who made the meal for them. Many thanks to our Back In The Kitchen Group for taking up the challenge, and doing so in such a professional manner, and to our new friends who came to enjoy the food and give us their feedback. As ever, we are indebted to our gallant volunteers, without whom this wouldn't have got off the ground.
We're on the lookout for regular volunteers to support this project. If you think you'd like to give a few hours of your time each week, please contact Gretchen@squarefoodfoundation.co.uk
And, if you would like to be kept up to date with our plans, or indeed join the Back In The Kitchen Cooking Club please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.