And it’s all for a good cause.

Lockdown is hard on all of us, but some have it tougher than most, with food insecurity and loneliness spiking during Covid.Pre-pandemic, one in four Australians were admitting to problematic levels of loneliness – that’s now shot up to one in two. And over the last 12 months, food relief charity OzHarvest has experienced a 47 per cent increase in demand, delivering nearly 50 million meals to Aussies in need since Covid hit.Those staggering statistics are why Manu Feildel has teamed up with OzHarvest for #Cook2Connect, a digital campaign running throughout September and October to remind people that being able to ‘share a plate with a mate’ can help us feel connected to our community.Science backs it up, research from the University of Oxford revealed that when eating is a social event people are less likely to feel lonely.Feildel, plus big-name chefs such as Adam D’Sylva and Reynold Poernomo, will cook a favourite recipe over Instagram TV, while sharing the personal story about the dish. The idea is that you cook along, learn a little more about them and donate to OzHarvest to help those struggling.

Like many of us in lockdown, Feildel has spent his time “eating and drinking and getting fat.” He knows that he’s one of the lucky ones. “OzHarvest is always something I enjoy working with, they are helping people, and food is entertaining. It’s sharing what I love to do with Australia. Cooking is my life and if I can’t cook in a restaurant or as a business, why not do it online? Some people have it easier than others, it’s why sharing this thing with OzHarvest is brilliant,” he says.

“Food has always connected people. It doesn’t matter what country you come from or even if you don’t speak the same language, when you’re sitting around a table eating food, the food makes the connection.

“Human beings are social, we’re supposed to go out to bars, restaurants, nightclubs and the cinema with our family and friends but all of that has been taken away from us.”

Feildel will be cooking alongside his wife Clarissa and they are still working on the menu.

“She is Chinese-Malay and I’m French so we may do French or Asian, it will be something that we love cooking and we love eating with our friends and family,” he says.

You can donate to OzHarvest at:

This article was first published on Delicious, you can view the original here.