Hoxton community kitchen’s mission to reduce waste and feed the hungry
- Credit: Caritas Westminister
A Hackney chef is helping reduce food waste and feed her community for free at her Hoxton community kitchen.
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.
“One customer told us that Aina cooks the best food in the East End, done with caring hands’.
“But food is only part of what is on offer.
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“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.
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.
“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/