Recently I was invited out to Foodbank to compete in a cook-off with other bloggers and media personalities. Our task was to make a dish (we had two recipes to choose from) utilizing the ingredients supplied, and we had 35 minutes to do it. The participants were in pairs so teamwork was a big factor in creating this meal.
I know from personal past experience what it's like not to have money for food, and to have to survive on what little is left in the pantry, so I was more than delighted to go out to Glendenning to participate in the cook-off, despite it was going to take a big chunk out of my working day.
Last year alone, Foodbank rescued 32 million kilos of food destined to be dumped and turned it into for over 40 million meals. Foodbank is a non-denominational and non-profit organisation which acts as a pantry to the charities and community groups who feed the hungry. It was first established in 1992 in NSW and now has a presence in every state and territory with distribution centres in all state capitals as well as a number of regional centres.
When I arrived at the distribution centre I was in awe of the size of this place. It made me feel a little emotional to be honest, knowing that organisations exist like this to make some Aussie families lives a little better.
Once we were in our pairs, it was time to let the cook-off begin. Our recipes were created by Matt Hayden and Dr Joanna McMillan, and can be whipped up with the food staples that Foodbank regularly distributes to those in need.
Now as luck would have it, I ended up being the partner of Elle Vernon, the Food Editor at Better Homes and Gardens, and Elle knows a thing or two about cooking!!! YES! I mentioned to Elle that she should lead 'the team' and I would complete chores as directed, this actually turned out really well and we WON! A lot of it was to do with Elle being creative and adding some 'special' ingredients to our chicken casserole dish that she sent me to find from the shelves, with the help of the amazing staff at Foodbank, including Gerry the CEO. We chose Dr Jo's recipe only because Matt's was real fancy....sorry Matt :) .... we were on a deadline!
Left to right: Gerry Andersen CEO, Elle Vernon, Deb Carr, Dr Jo and Matt Hayden.
As much as I enjoyed this challenge and being on the winning team, to me the winners are those who run Foodbank including the staff, suppliers and of course volunteers. My small contribution is spreading the word. I am invited to a lot of VIP events as the Editor of this blog with all the Glitz and Glamour, but I have to tell you, this was one of the best I've ever done, it was very rewarding.
You can help by donating funds or bringing the attention to your HR Manager to arrange corporate volunteering, or just share the message.