Saturday Kitchen arrived a day early at the Cardinal Hume Centre this week when famous chef Ben Tish from the Ember Yard restaurant delivered a culinary master class for young residents from the Centre’s hostel and users of its family services.
Ember Yard, recently named by Time Out as one of London’s top restaurants, has chosen the Centre as its charity partner. Over the last 12 months, customers have donated over £16,000 via a £1 addition to their bill. This incredible sum has gone towards training a new generation of cooks at the Centre.
On Friday 27 March, Ben Tish – the Chef Director of the Salt Yard Group which owns Ember Yard and who regularly appears on Saturday Kitchen and in the Independent and Metro – cooked up a tasty treat for some lucky members of the Centre’s community. Ben enjoyed seeing how much people enjoyed the food: ‘I'm delighted to be involved in this project. Two things that are dear to my heart are teaching and food and these are essential parts of life. If I can pass on these skills or inspire then I'll be very happy indeed.’
After making and serving the nutritious and healthy meal, Ben shared his top tips on preparing delicious meals on a budget to young hostel residents and parents of children from the nursery, all of whom have benefited from the generosity of Ember Yard and its customers.
Young people from 16 years old living in the Centre’s hostel have been learning how to plan, budget, shop, and cook a whole range of nutritious meals. Hannah who has taken part in the weekly sessions, says: ‘At first I wasn’t interacting much with other people in the hostel, but the cooking classes taught me how to cook, learn new skills, and made me interact with people in the kitchen and start to talk to other residents.’
Families with little income who use the Centre’s family services have been learning how to cook healthy family meals on a budget. Nasima, a mum of three who comes to the Centre with her seven-week old baby, really values the skills she’s learning which she can keep on using: ‘Cooking for me can be disastrous, but with the five dishes we’ve learnt I know they’ll turn out ok and my fussy children love them, too! They’re great value, which when you’re on a tight budget is what you need.’
Cathy Corcoran, CEO of the Cardinal Hume Centre, praises the joint programme, whilst concerned over how many people can’t afford to feed their families.
‘The partnership between Ember Yard and the Centre is wonderful. The skills people are learning are ones which help them and their families for life. However, what worries me especially as we move towards the General Election is the increasing number of working families – some 6.3 million people – who are living below the poverty line and can’t afford to buy the basics to put a nutritious meal on the table for their families.’
The ongoing support of companies like Ember Yard enables the Centre to help more people to overcome the barriers keeping people in poverty.