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Hoxton community kitchen’s mission to reduce waste and feed the hungry

PUBLISHED: 16:56 30 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:16 02 November 2020

Chef Aina Omo-Bare. Picture: Caritas Westminister

Chef Aina Omo-Bare. Picture: Caritas Westminister

Caritas Westminister

A Hackney chef is helping reduce food waste and feed her community for free at her Hoxton community kitchen.

Food ready for distribution at Idia’s Kitchen at St Monica's Roman Catholic Church. Picture: Caritas WestministerFood ready for distribution at Idia’s Kitchen at St Monica's Roman Catholic Church. Picture: Caritas Westminister

Aina Omo-Bare welcomes everyone at Idia’s Kitchen, which she runs three times a week at St Monica’s Roman Catholic Church in Hoxton.

She often cooks for up to 40 people at a time and all the food at her community kitchen is free to anyone who needs a hot meal.

READ MORE: Hackney church and Caribbean restaurant set up soup kitchen in Well Street

“One customer told us that Aina cooks the best food in the East End, done with caring hands’.

Aina says all are welcome to eat for free at her kitchen, which she runs three times a week. Picture: Caritas WestministerAina says all are welcome to eat for free at her kitchen, which she runs three times a week. Picture: Caritas Westminister

“But food is only part of what is on offer.

“Idia’s kitchen is a place where people can find temporary escape from their daily anxieties or from damaging relationships,” said Minet Masho, a Caritas Westminster Development worker who is helping Aina register her kitchen as a charity.

He said he was struck by Aina’s “passion for food” and for feeding marginalised and disadvantaged people.

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Aina is also passionate about reducing food waste. She named the Hoxton kitchen after her late daughter, setting it up in response to the food she saw being wasted at the college kitchen where she worked as a chef until December last year.

Aina began using ingredients that would have been thrown away for meals which she distributed at St Monica’s parish hall.

READ MORE: Hackney teenager delivers food to key workers during lockdown

The project grew and the Catholic charity Caritas Westminister helped her find new sources of food and funding, helping her link up with Hackney Council’s food distribution scheme and the Gubay Foundation which awarded to chef with a grant of £1,000.

Aina kept her kitchen open during lockdown serving food outside for people to take away.

Customers say Aina has created more than a kitchen and that Idia’s Kitchen is a community.

READ MORE: There With You: Hackney Wick chef raises money to feed her community

“The welcome provided by Idia’s Kitchen can sometimes have unexpected consequences,” said Minet recalling a time when Aina invited a passing city worker into her kitchen to eat.

“It seems that he needed the socialising and liked the company as he chatted away with the customers. A few days later he came back with a pair of boots to give to one of the customers he had been chatting to,” Minet said.

For more information about the social outreach charity Caritas Westminister visit www.caritaswestminster.org.uk/


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