Free To Feed
How did the program start? When I was a La Trobe university student I visited asylum seekers in detention and spent some time on Christmas Island. One of the most compelling characteristics of people seeking asylum (and refugees) is their incredible resilience despite experiencing some of the most unimaginable adversity and hardship. In late 2015 my husband Daniel and I put our heads to together and come up with a way to tackle this issue (as best we can) here in Melbourne and we decided to start-up our own social enterprise. We launched Free to Feed, a pop-up cooking school with classes run by asylum seekers and refugees in 2015.
What do you hope the cooks get out of the program? Our cooks get to build up their credibility and experience within Melbourne's food industry and receive mentoring from some pretty amazing chefs, not to mention a lot of exposure. We really hope that by meeting so many wonderful people they start to get a sense that they’re welcome in this country and we hope their experiences with us translate into meaningful jobs or businesses in the future.
What about people who attend a class? Australians, from all walks of life, come together and under the guidance of their expert cooking instructor, create a six course menu from scratch, using authentic ingredients from their instructor’s home country. Our instructors share the stories that are too rarely heard directly from the mouths of those who have experienced them.
Free To Feed will be providing lunch at LaTrobe University’s 50th Anniversary Lawn Lunch at their Bundoora Campus on Sunday March 5.