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The Six Black Pens crew celebrated 10 years in business by rolling up their sleeves to fulfil pledge number one – creating delicious meals with the incredible people at OzHarvest.

What more inspiring start to our year of pledges than getting into the kitchen with the super talented, big hearted people at OzHarvest? Our mission: to cook a nourishing, restaurant-quality dinner for disadvantaged people using ‘rescued’ surplus food.

After meeting the team and learning the truth about how much food we unnecessarily send to landfill in Australia every year – more than 5 million tonnes – and how many people experience food insecurity a year – that’s 4 million – we donned our yellow aprons and got down to the nitty gritty of putting food ‘rescued’ from supermarkets and restaurants to good use.

The expert and patient OzHarvest chefs instructed us in the secret arts of fine-chopping onions, creating garlic paste in nanoseconds and peeling ginger with a spoon. We then chopped, peeled, diced, baked and stirred our way through a Middle Eastern extravaganza of recipes adapted to the rescued food on offer. Highlights included a vegetable tagine, pilafs, flatbreads, dips, salads, beef koftas, falafel, harissa chicken, and rhubarb and fig-laced cakes with orange scented cream.

The real buzz came from helping create 225 yummy meals that were sent out to Booler Community and Vincentian House in inner Sydney the following day.

After we’d sweated it out behind the burners, our chefs took pity on their motley kitchen crew and let us sit down to enjoy the second part of the evening: the fabulous, restaurant-quality food we’d prepared ourselves. Stories quickly grew about how many onions (some say 100) were chopped, cloves of garlic crushed (maybe 60) and lemons squeezed and zested (about 20). Agreeing on the standout dishes of the night proved impossible.

OzHarvest now rescues 180 tonnes of food each week from more than 3,500 food donors around Australia. It’s then redistributed to help feed people in need. We couldn’t help feeling that founder Ronni Kahn being appointed an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia (General Division) in the 2019 Australia Day Honours was the least she deserved.

It was an evening that left a great taste in the mouth, in more ways than one, and sent us home much more conscious of the unnecessary suffering and waste our throwaway food culture creates.

Can’t beat that as a start to our year of pledges.

Josephine Phillips

© Six Black Pens 2024