Eight weeks ago, Open Kitchens didn’t exist. Now it’s a not for profit, national food solution bringing together restaurants and their local communities to fund, produce and deliver free meals to those in need. This impressive initiative was founded by the team at Go dine and Go dine digital, as a response to the COVID 19 crisis.
Calvern at Caterer.com caught up with Adam Roberts, CEO & Founder of Open Kitchens
Restaurants working for free to create meals on a budget
The concept behind Open Kitchens asks restaurants to volunteer to open their kitchens and work for free, to prepare and cook meals for those in need in their local community. The budget of £1.85 per meal covers costs and is funded by community donations.
To reach those most in need Open Kitchens works with charities and organisations who are best placed to know how to get meals out into the community, reaching vulnerable children, homeless individuals and the elderly.
Empty kitchens offered huge potential for social good
Adam Roberts, CEO & Founder explains: “With a client-base made up almost exclusively of restaurants, we knew just how severe the impact of coronavirus was going to be within days of social distancing measures coming into play. In searching for reassurance for everyone involved, we came to realise that the facilities restaurants already have in place offered huge potential for social good in a climate of isolation and food shortages.”
Adam continued, “We got the word out to as many organisations as we could think of in order to pool resources and the response from everyone so far has been phenomenal.”
100,000 meals and counting
Almost 100,000 meals have already been cooked and distributed, and as the project grows more kitchens are getting involved, including those of renowned chef Adam Handling of Frog, Covent Garden. Donations are used to cover the essential running costs for each Open Kitchen with every £1.85 donated used to provide a single, restaurant-quality meal.
As lockdown continues more kitchens are needed
More kitchens and teams are needed to volunteer across the UK to take part in Open Kitchens, as the need for meals is only set to increase.
George Ktori who runs popular Greek restaurant Yamas in Nottingham city centre was keen to get involved:
“When Open Kitchens came to me, I was immediately on board. It’s important to help in these times and feed those who need it most. We’ve got the equipment and the talented chefs, who volunteer their time and cook fresh meals for those who don’t have access to them.”
Get involved and help those in need in your local community
If you operate a commercial kitchen, you can help feed those in need in your community by pledging to open your kitchen. Participating restaurants produce meals against a budget of up to £1.85 per meal (including production costs – gas, electricity, PPE and packaging), funded by your local community and local businesses. Participating kitchens are required to pledge a minimum of 1,000 meals per week for 12 weeks or more.
Caterer.com is supporting Open Kitchens and sending a call out to kitchens and teams to get involved. To volunteer your kitchen and time contact openkitchens.co.uk.
How to donate
To support Open Kitchens you can donate as an individual or organisation via the initiative’s central Just Giving page. Just £1.85 will provide a hearty meal for someone who needs it.
Find out more and get involved: https://openkitchens.co.uk/