3 lessons learned after cooking for the homeless

I recently coordinated a group of friends to volunteer as chefs and together we prepared a 3-course meal for 100 homeless people in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

There are over 100 million homeless people worldwide. Our contribution was in synch with Earth Hour a global effort to unite people to protect the planet & the residents of the planet.

At the Albert Cuyp,  my local farmer’s markets in Amsterdam, I always get inspired by whatever seasonal fruits & vegetables are on display, and I make food choices to experiment and create new menus.

When cooking for a large group, however, it’s imperative to be precise in your food choices.  Having a detailed shopping list ensures that you buy everything that you need. And if you choose to experiment, do so, with 1 dish only.

The 3 lessons I learned about cooking for a large group:

  1. Stick with a tried-and-true recipe for the main course
  2. Pre-prepare at least one of the courses
  3. Make one dish a ‘stretch’ dish, so your guest can have seconds

The 3-course menu we created for the 100 homeless men and women was a warming, nutrient-dense meal packed with fibre, protein, and healthy fats #eat4energy

  1. StarterVeggie-egg salad (mele of seasonal grilled vegetables with boiled eggs). This was our ‘stretch’ dish, a combo of protein and veggies. We had fun with this dish, experimented by mixing different greens and seasonal veggies.
  2. Main course: Saute tofu with rice and beans cooked in coconut milk. This is a staple in my house, it’s a complete protein meal. Before we sauteed the tofu, we pressed it to get a firm meat-like texture, which makes it more likely that a 1st timer would enjoy eating it. We then did a Thai saute with a coconut milk base, served with wild rice and kidney beans.
  3. Dessert: Coco custard with strawberry cream fraiche. We pre-prepared the custard with creme fraiche, refrigerated it for 24h to get the right texture.

Watching the 100 men and women devour their meals was priceless.    For many, this was their first warm meal that day, for others, their 1st prepared meal in several weeks.

The effort, time and energy in organising this event was well worth it. Sticking to our menu-plan, although we made some errors (to share in another blog 😉  was very useful.

I challenge you to participate and reach out to the needy in your community. Please share your experience.

As always,  Kyrin xo

Kyrin Hall

Kyrin Hall - Natural Medicine, Food Science + TV Health PresenterKyrin presents & produces Health programmes for SKY TV The Active Channel. She also contributes to various Health magazines such as Men’s fitness, Runner’s world and Zest Fitness…

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