Free to Feed Social Enterprise
A couple of weeks ago on a brisk Friday evening I had the pleasure of joining a very special cooking class put on by the Northcote based not-for-profit Free to Feed. The class I attended, with 10 or so others, was such an incredibly entertaining and enriching experience that I thought I would share a little about it here so others might be inspired to join this great event.
Free to Feed is a relatively new social enterprise that was co-foundered by Loretta and Daniel Bolotin with an aim to champion the unique skills of refugees and asylum seekers who have sought refuge in Australia. Their advocacy is delivered through various food orientated initiatives including their cooking classes, workshops, community events and immersive experiences. They are also partners of Now to Launch, a food-related business incubator with an aim to nurture entrepreneurialism of refugees and new migrants who face significant challenges in gaining employment and starting businesses, despite harbouring incredibly enterprising attitudes and skills.
Each cooking class Free to Feed offer has a selected cuisine depending on the host of the night and their cultural background. As I so thoroughly enjoyed the Tamil Feast evening at Ceres, I decided to join host Charu's class to try to learn some authentic Sri Lankan recipes for me to attempt at home.
After a round of introductions by us participants, Charu gave a moving insight into her personal story of fleeing Sri Lanka for safety in Malaysia and eventually on to our shores here in Australia. Without going into to much detail, lets just say the horrors she described certainly brought a few tears to the eyes of participants. Thankfully Charu is now safely here in Australia with a special job of sharing her cooking skills with us want-to-be curry kings.
I could attempt to try and explain the delicious food which we created, like the bloody awesome eggplant and chickpea curry, but I feel like I wouldn't be doing it justice. Instead, let me just say this: Go and experience a night with Free to Feed yourself. Hear the tales of refugees and asylum seekers. Create some amazing dishes. Meet new and interesting people. Have a beer or wine. Take it all in. And think... how lucky we actually are to be in a safe country like Australia.