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6 November 2017


well, we did it again. after the success of last year's wok for 1000 event, where more than 1000 of london's homeless were delivered and fed meals i helped to prep and cook, we bloody well did it again. and this time we upped the ante, and chopped, simmered, and cooked over 1,400 servings of delicious and nutritious asian cuisine to help fill the bellies of those living rough in the capital. not only that, but we folded and fried another 4000 crispy shitake wontons, which is probably the most amount of wontons i've seen outside of a chinese buffet (a lot).

plan zheroes, in collaboration with borough marketted's vegthe school of wok, and dozens of other partners and charities in london, work tirelessly together towards the same goal: to eradicate food waste and end hunger in the uk. they do this through surplus food collection and redistribution. through the donation of food to soup kitchens and shelters. through workshops with volunteers to educate and promote. and just generally by being amazing people with humanity at the core of everything they do. so, you know, i couldn't have been happier to have been invited back to help them do exactly those things once again.

food insecurity and food wastage are two major issues in the uk, affecting both businesses as well as hundreds of thousands of individuals and families each day. jeremy pang and his school of wok are hoping to help raise awareness of these two issues, and encourage both discussion and problem solving among local businesses, through the continued running of the wok for 1000 event. it was bigger than last year; it was better than last year; but i left feeling as good as i do every time i get to use my (minimal) skills for good, and eat a damn tasty meal inside my favourite market afterwards.

businesses were encouraged to sign up for the event in teams of ten, and then work together with (but against) other locals to produce delicious meals to be delivered and distributed across the capital to local food banks and charities. we set the bar high last year, but between the 200+ volunteers, 15+ chef tutor's (who made sure we didn't chop off our fingers), social media mavens, tea ladies, camera people, and clean up crew, we smashed it out of the market this time around.

i am so damn lucky to work for an agency that shares the same beliefs as me when it comes to corporate social responsibility. we are very privileged. we have jobs, and salaries, and holidays abroad, and plenty of food. we probably have too much food - i know i do. and we could all do a lot better than we do, when it comes to sharing that privilege. i'm not very good at most things, i don't have a lot of money, and i can't help as many people as i would like to, but i have time to give. and i have this platform here, that sometimes needs to be used for good, rather than for selfies.

food waste is a real problem. especially with the amount of food insecurity there is at the same time. children who don't get three meals in the school holidays because their parents can't afford to, homeless shelters who can't source enough healthy and nutritious food to keep their residents well-fed and off the streets, and refugee communities who have literally had to cross countries to find a meal, and yet we're throwing those slightly brown bananas away? no. this has to stop, and we are all responsible for making those changes to help.

please help. please educate yourself. please tell everyone.

images c/o anna rachel photography

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