Nosh Odd Plate Dinners – What goes on behind the scenes?
16th October 2020 – Thava Indian Restaurant
From the Guests’ perspective, an Odd Plate Dinner appears to be all about good food prepared by top South African Chefs to support an important charitable cause.
Of course, in reality a lot of hard work and planning are taking place behind the scenes, to make it happen. It is much more than a Odd Plate Dinner fundraising…
Every day, the Nosh teams start with early morning collections of items to be rescued from supermarkets, wholesalers, farmers, agents, markets and other sources of salvageable produce. Their ‘harvest’ ranges from perfectly edible and nutritious fruits and vegetables to products which have reached their “sell by” dates but are still safe and edible, goods which were overstocked or perhaps damaged or mis-labelled goods.
There are many reasons for food to be discarded and not nearly all touch on safety!
The teams are not only picking up surplus food; they are also spending a lot of time building relationships with the various donors and their staff as well as educating and encouraging them to donate while the food is still edible. Should this threshold of edibility be exceeded, such food is distributed to local farmers for animal feed or composting, amongst other closed-system solutions.
Only a tiny fraction of what the Nosh teams collect is sent to the Odd Plate kitchen for the day. Any produce which is not selected for the dinner, does not go to waste but gets cooked up at the Community Kitchen for distribution to the soup kitchens, shelters and feeding schemes serviced by (in this case) Thava Indian Restaurant.
They then put their collective creative brains to the test and come up with a menu for the event. The October menu created by the Chefs and students looked as follows:
- Cheese-stuffed Jalapenos
- Two chilled soups – creamy Green Asparagus and rich Beetroot
- Main course(s):
- Chicken Biryani
- Tacos with Coleslaw and refried Beans
- Samp Risotto
- Spiced Chickpea and Lentil Curry with assorted Sambals
- Stuffed Zucchini
- Thai Vegetable Cakes
- Swiss Roll and Lamington layered Trifle
The culinary students (in this case from CPSH and HTA) have to swiftly adapt to a different cooking space than they are used to.
The Thava kitchen, which is better geared to Thava’s own delicious brand of Indian cuisine, was a slightly challenging environment, but they soon set to chop, cut, cook and clean under the supervision of the various Chefs.
Students get an opportunity to put into practice sustainable culinary skills which they may previously only have gathered from book learning :
- Reducing Food Waste when sourcing and preparing ingredients.
- Separating organic waste for composting.
- And the most important eye-opener: less-than-optimal ingredients CAN be turned into nutritious and delicious meals, with imagination and skill!
Events such as this could not succeed if there was not a busy front of house team, so a big ‘Thank You!’ also goes to the volunteer servers, who not only set up the venue, organised the decor and served the guests with a smile during the evening, but also faced steep stairs to provide the bar service!
We also want to say thanks to the sponsors who provided prizes for the Lucky Draws, and of course, our deepest gratitude goes to Mr Mathew Abraham who has been so very generous to Nosh and the various beneficiary organisations for the last six months!
We hope we have whetted your appetite! The next Odd Plate Dinner is on Friday 6 November – see you there!
Shoes – Compliment of one of our Chefs. 😊