The Cambridge food scene continues to go from strength to strength, and there seems to have been a lot of interest recently in Persian food. Pomegranates, walnuts, herbs and aubergines – I mean, what’s not to like?! We’re always looking for new fundraising ideas and hadn’t organised any big events for a while – so when Saba, one of our new volunteers, got in touch earlier this year with a proposal to put on a Persian feast, FoodCycle-style, of course we said yes straight away. Saba, who has run similar events before at Cambridge Cookery School, came up with an absolutely mouthwatering four course vegetarian menu.
Of course, our aim was (as always) to source as much of this as possible from surplus and donated food. Eventually around 70 per cent of what we served was made with ingredients gleaned from our regular food collections, and with the support of our community partners Waterland Organics, Cambridge Organic Food Company and Radmore Farm Shop any last minute menu changes were (thankfully) kept to a minimum.
The congregation at our regular Saturday venue, Wesley Methodist Church, also kindly offered to let us use their building for free – so we were all systems go for April 8th once Saba had finished celebrating Nowruz. Our team of seven volunteer cooks worked their socks off in the kitchen (once we’d served our regular weekly lunch), with delicious smells of cardamom and rose soon filling the air.
Meanwhile, the front of house volunteers were busy transforming the refectory at Wesley. By 7 p.m. the cocktails – a pomegranate fizz or a glass of sekahnjebin, an Iranian mint syrup served with soda and grated cucumber – were poured and ready, and the tables were soon filling up…
We were really pleased to welcome some of our community partners (Waterland Organics and Cambridge Organic Food Company) too, as a way of saying thank you for all their support. This is Paul and Doreen Robinson from Waterland, with Ann Mitchell of Cambridge Sustainable Food – they supplied the spinach that went into one of the main course dishes.
It was lovely to see our 70 guests tucking into each course, particularly the 20 or so people who’d never heard of us or been to a FoodCycle meal before – all in all, a fantastic opportunity to show people just what you can do with surplus food and to raise awareness of what we do.
With all the changes and upheaval last year due to moving venues, it was great to be able to run a big event like this again. So much so that we’re already planning another for late summer/early autumn – watch this space for more detail and snap up your ticket when they go on sale!
Thank you once again to all our guests, who helped raise a fantastic total of £1007.14 that will go towards helping provide even more meals to our local community. And thank you to the amazing volunteers without whom it wouldn’t have been possible!