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Volunteers cook up Asian meals for the homeless

Pang and some 180 volunteers donned aprons and sharpened their cooking skills to make 4,000 dumplings, 700 noodle stir-fries, and 700 liters of massaman curry in just under four hours on a cold morning in the city’s iconic food-centric Borough Market.

Now in its third year, the aim of the event, which is called Wok for 1,000, is to raise awareness of food waste and food poverty throughout the United Kingdom.

Pang, who founded the cookery teaching facility School of Wok in London’s Covent Garden, led a team of experienced chefs in teaching volunteers how to cook the dishes.

The hot meals were then packed up and loaded into vans so they could be distributed to those in need.

The event was part of Pang’s work to support the charity Plan Zheroes, which aims to help connect food businesses with charities in order to redistribute surplus food and support measures to help prevent food waste. Pang said he decided to act after learning about the problem of wasted food.

“One thousand three hundred meals get distributed to around 10 charities across London who are fighting food poverty in some way or form,” Pang said. “The idea is that with ‘small steps for big changes’, an event like this, although it’s a big event, it’s still quite a small step in showing people that one person can easily cook for 10 people and feed a lot of people in need.”

The ingredients used at the event were donated by School of Wok’s suppliers as well as from stallholders at Borough Market.

“As soon as we met Plan Zheroes it was clear to me that it was a charity we wanted to raise money for,” said Pang. “So, not only are we creating thousands of meals but, at the same time, we are raising around 5,000 to 6,000 pounds ($6,400 to $7,700) for a very small charity doing a huge job.”

According to a report by wrap.org.uk, 4.2 million tons of food that might otherwise have been consumed are binned in Britain each year, which is equivalent to 24 meals a month for the average UK household.