Mark Fitch:

Mark spends some qual­ity time at a so­cial en­ter­prise with food at its heart

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE - the­[email protected]­folkhome­chef2018

This month Mark is in a spe­cial kitchen

My kitchen for this month is at The Feed, a so­cial en­ter­prise cater­ing busi­ness based on Prince of Wales Road in Norwich. The great thing about this or­gan­i­sa­tion, cre­ated in 2014, is that it aims to make a dif­fer­ence in not one but three ways.

First is their café. Open for break­fast and lunch six days a week, it is per­haps best known for its freshly made cia­batta sand­wiches, jacket pota­toes and cakes. The prof­its go to the char­ity foun­da­tion which sup­ports var­i­ous lo­cal home­less­ness ini­tia­tives.

They have a cor­po­rate cater­ing arm which some of you will have heard of. There was some ex­cite­ment dur­ing my visit on the sub­ject of the first wed­ding on the books. A ve­gan chilli is to take cen­tre stage.

Its web­site has a page de­tail­ing where and when peo­ple in need can get free and/or cheap food, each day of the week.

But it is its train­ing course that caught my eye and which has led to my visit. The Feed runs a four week course, pro­vid­ing adults who face bar­ri­ers to em­ploy­ment with the skills re­quired to work in the food and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try.

I joined a group at the be­gin­ning of their sec­ond week. Our task for the day was to pre­pare and serve two salad boxes which are on the cor­po­rate cater­ing menu. I was set to work with half the group on the falafel, fruity cous­cous and roasted vegetable op­tion; the oth­ers pre­pared one with chicken, noo­dles and an ori­en­tal dress­ing.

Work­ing to Gemma’s recipes un­der the ex­pert tute­lage of Laura, I am con­fi­dent we nailed it, as was con­firmed by Lucy and her col­leagues in the of­fice when we served up.

The hum­mus-like dress­ing for our falafel dish was su­perb. I have some­how man­aged to come away with the recipe.

Two high­lights dur­ing the rest of this week in­clude pre­par­ing and serv­ing canapés in the café and a trip to Ket­tle Foods, whose sup­port for the en­ter­prise takes many valu­able forms. Next week they will be learn­ing the ways of the cof­fee barista.

Grad­u­ates of the scheme are al­ready flour­ish­ing in our city’s restau­rants. They have one es­pe­cially mar­vel­lous suc­cess story – but I don’t want to men­tion it ahead of its own spe­cial press un­veil­ing...

More gen­er­ally speak­ing, Lucy de­scribes the pride the team feels at the trans­for­ma­tion of its trainees over the four weeks, par­tic­u­larly the con­fi­dence they dis­play with their cook­ing and front of house aware­ness.

In­ter­ested in be­ing part of the jour­ney? As well as do­nat­ing on their web­site, The Feed is al­ways happy to hear from those wish­ing to vol­un­teer and have a va­ri­ety of roles avail­able, not least of which is mak­ing a happy cou­ple’s spe­cial day a culi­nary suc­cess.

Ed­i­tor’s note: The pho­to­graphs on last month’s page should have been cred­ited to Jes­sica Aline Hay, jes­saline.co.uk Apolo­gies for the omis­sion.

ABOVE:Mark at work at The Feed

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