As part of our Wellbeing Connected Moray project Moray Wellbeing Hub CIC hosted a session for our Champions and partner organisations to come together and upskill around food.
Many of us run pop-up food events and wanted to ensure that we had the best practice. Food is an excellent connector, but most of us have not had sufficient training or guidance in this area about what to be mindful of in food hygiene.
Of the 14 attending we had a number of our delivery team (volunteer supervisors and peer trainers), as well as Champions that volunteer their time with us, and we were delighted to welcome a new Champion too.
We had three partners joining us – Bethany from Action for Children who is working on a new Buckie project with families, Mandi home school link worker for Buckie who was looking to develop nurturing lunches with the SEBN service for harder to reach families, and a community member who was looking to expand their volunteering.
Our host for the session was the wonderful Penny the Inkwell manager. The Inkwell is part of Elgin Youth Development Group – all the funding that comes from the social enterprise work goes back in to the youth work including the youth cafe that is within the same building.
She used 6 recipes from ‘Confidence to cook’ recipe book developed with NHS Health Scotland – Lentil soup, soda bread, fish baguettes, kedgeree, pumpkin and sweet potato curry, chicken chow mein.
As one participant put it, “I’m amazed we are going to make so much!” She also explained that washing up would also be part of our experience today and that many of the young people, and the older ones, they cook with at the Inkwell can find that this is the biggest challenge!
Once we all said hello to each other, but before we were let loose on the foodstuffs, useful questions were asked about the legislation on allergies. Moray Wellbeing Hub’s Heidi, who has run their pop-up cafes in the past, shared that some of the top tips have used in the past.
MWH pop-up cafes/food stalls:
“Some nice connections going on. Start doing some pop-up cafe things sounds great…I love to bake!”
AIM: This activity is about both the outreach in terms of encouraging anti-stigma conversations and social contact, as well as encouraging connection for those unable to be at the food stall on the day perhaps due to challenges with socialisation, time, caring or health issues.
- People volunteer cooking are always encouraged to hand in receipts to ensure that donated food is not costing them or being a barrier to inclusion.
- Allergens: we encourage all ingredients to be listed. For food marked as ‘free from’ this is only trusted to the level of the trust relationship with the volunteer who donated the cooking. For example, if we know someone has an allergy themselves they are likely to be very strict, but at all times we make it clear we can not guarantee the content.
- Can not guarantee the hygiene of the place that food is cooked. As this does not come from a professional kitchen passes by food hygiene standards, we can not sell cakes.
- A suggested donation of £2 -£2.50 is displayed for a cake and coffee at our stalls to cover costs. if cakes are very very fancy we raffle these or ask for suggested donations that reflect the time and expense of creating these.
- We have a stock of disposable cups, transportable press pots, cake stands and table covers for team members or partners to use for such events.
Other hygiene tips we shared for community events:
- Preventing double dripping: using small breadsticks
- Using coloured plates: keep allergies away from each other in serving
- Save butter tubs etc and take these along for using for leftovers.
Penny offered to support anyone with recipes, advice and ideas. Including no-bake options should they hold events such as these in the future.
There was no time to spare as the group took on the challenge of creating so many dishes. Working in pairs we created everything for a fabulous lunch. When there were natural breaks Penny shared more tips and quizzed out knowledge on storing food in a fridge, chopping board use, sharp knives, as well as getting us to take part in quizzes on amounts of fat and sugar in food.
Once the cooking (and cleaning) was complete we sat down to chat again over the labours of the morning. The food was excellent and proved that anyone can make fantastic food to share.
Feedback from the event included asking those who came along what they committed to as a next step after this event:
“I’m more confident chucking things in!”
“Connecting with other services and champions to improve services available to my project. Thank you, great day!”
“I commit to challenge myself out my comfort zone, move and get involved with social activities. This will challenge my experience with anxiety and trust to develop connections with others.”
“Be aware of hygiene when handling food. Make people aware that there may be allergins in the food that is out. Thanks a really great session.”