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Wintec's kitchens paying it back to the community

Food from Wintec's kitchens now goes to those in need

Wintec tutor Marco Guimaraes with Petrina Toimata, otherwise known as Aunty P of The Serve Trust, collecting food from Wintec’s training kitchens.

Every night The Serve serves a hot meal to those who need it. Now some of this food comes from Wintec’s training kitchens.

Wintec hospitality tutor, Marco Guimaraes wanted to do something for the community and knew the leftover food from Wintec’s kitchens could go to better use.

“I contacted The Serve and they are now collecting the surplus food cooked by our chef students in their practical classes, which amounts to about 8 - 10kg a week.”

Marco says before this, much of the food left over from chef training was going to waste as it did not fit the criteria for other charitable organisations.

“The leftover food is different to the surplus fresh food from other organisations as it is cooked, so it needs to be handled differently and consumed, often on the same day. It can include soups, stews, cooked meats and desserts,” says Marco. 

“I am so pleased we are not only helping the community by sharing food with those that need it, we now have a channel for surplus food from Wintec’s training kitchens.” 

"The idea is that we, as Wintec, engage and work together with these communities to make a real and positive change. It was important for me when I started this collaboration, to involve our students in the process in order to start nurturing in them a sense of social responsibility.”

As a result two of Wintec’s chef training students are now volunteering with The Serve.

Marco is now working to create a Wintec-wide community engagement group, "so together, we can make a much larger contribution". 

The Serve has a vision to strengthen community, and develops relationships with individuals, local businesses and organisations to source and redistribute donated resources (e.g. Kaivolution, Wintec and FarmShop), to volunteer (e.g. The Helm, local church groups and schools), or to support and link the community.

Petrina Toimata, known as Aunty P, works with more than 150 cooks and servers, and community groups to provide and serve a hot meal to an average of 45 – 65 people each evening. As many as 130 people have been served in one sitting.

“We’re committed to serving a hot meal 365 days a year and we don’t turn anyone away,” say Aunty P.

“The Serve is available to anyone in our community to access regardless of their circumstances - everyone is welcome.”

The Serve is based at 4 Harwood Street, Hamilton and offers meals on weekdays from 6pm and weekends from 5pm. The doors are open 15 minutes before the night’s meal is served.

According to a survey done by Love Food Hate Waste New Zealand, New Zealanders throw away around 122,500 tonnes of food a year. That is equivalent to 213 jumbo jets of food that has to go somewhere to rot, instead of being eaten. All of this food is worth about $872 million each year.

The top three food items we waste the most are bread, leftovers and potatoes. 

Find out more about The Serve.

Find out more about studying hospitality at Wintec.

Read more:
Budding chefs handle the heat
Sharing aroha during Matariki
Developing the next generation of Kiwi chefs

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