Food for a Purpose: #Cook2Connect

Humans have been preparing and sharing meals together since the dawn of time. When food passes through different hands; boundaries are broken and trust is built. 

The act of preparing a meal is highly intimate, from planning the menu, to picking out produce and cooking – each step is filled with care and consideration. Then, there is the bustle of the kitchen, a choreography as two people navigate the small space. The table is set, with final touches placed before plates exchange hands and drinks are poured.

Food facilitates conversations between strangers, transcending cultural and social barriers. People bond over food and shared meals, questions are asked, and compliments are given. Similarities may be found in how food is prepared and cooked despite people coming from different cultures. Secret ingredients are shared proudly at a table of guests and tips are exchanged on what to look for when picking fresh produce. 

Important cultural celebrations have food at the centre of them, bringing families and communities together – think of Christmas, Lunar New Year, Chanukah, Eid or Diwali. Eating together is something humans have done for centuries, it is a way of taking care of ourselves and the people around us. At a smaller scale, we eat with our families and friends, at larger scales we eat with our community or even with strangers. 

OzHarvest’s Work

OzHarvest has delivered over 180 million meals since its establishment in 2004, rescuing food and redistributing it to those in need. The isolating times of COVID-19 have been filled with uncertainty and more people than ever relying on OzHarvest as the number of people experiencing food insecurity increase.

#Cook2Connect campaign launches at a time where people are actively extending their hand to both offer help and receive comfort; and what better way to do this than to ‘Share a Plate with a Mate’?

Served throughout September and October, #Cook2Connect provides inspiring restaurant-quality recipes for home-cooks to recreate using Australian brands and produce. With a focus on dishes designed to be shared, the recipes help Australians reconnect with family and friends over a meal by encouraging conversation. Sharing meals helps to build and reinforce relationships with research showing that people who ate together often felt happier, more satisfied with life and engaged with their local community.

In addition to hosting an intimate meal with friends or family, hosts and attendees are encouraged to donate to OzHarvest. So, not only have you ‘Shared a Plate with a Mate’, that same warmth and comfort is also extended to locals in need.

Covering a range of cuisines, with chefs from different backgrounds sharing traditional dishes and modern takes on their favourites and teaching everyday Australians how to fight food waste. #Cook2Connect is creating an inspiring campaign, providing ideas for meals and resources on meal planning, food storage and cooking – helping home cooks to make the most of their groceries.

Businesses with Purpose

#Cook2Connect’s partnerships introduces home cooks to local businesses with quality products, but also those with a lot of heart. In an era where we are increasingly aware of the impacts of our spending habits, making changes to support local businesses or companies who redistribute their resources, supporting great causes and giving back to communities in need.

Not only does your participation in #Cook2Connect allow you to share a great meal with your loved ones, you also know you are creating positive change with your purchasing power. Businesses know that customers now are looking beyond pricing and quality, MGI Entertainment’s General Manager of Content, Byron Keane observes, “They want brands to be aligned with causes that they care about.”

Nature Nate’s Honey gives back to women, families and villages in need through Honey Gives Hope. For every bottle of raw, unfiltered honey that they sell, consumers know that their money is going towards good causes like Breast Cancer Awareness and supporting local beekeepers. 

Similarly, D’Orsogna works to lower their carbon footprint through reducing plastic content in packaging, separating recyclable materials and using the latest energy and water conservation technology to be a more sustainable food manufacturer. D’Orsogna’s new Melbourne plant features 8500m2 of rooftop solar producing 1 megawatt of electricity.

Individuals taking part in #Cook2Connect know they are giving back to both local and wider communities. Consumers know they are championing local brands with shared values who are supporting their communities in need. Additionally, for every dollar donated OzHarvest provides two meals to those in need. 

So, with open kitchens, hearts and ears while you ‘Share a Plate with a Mate’, join #Cook2Connect in providing warmth and food to our local and wider community. 

Written by Tiffany Fong