As a human nutrition & dietetic student from Glasgow Caledonian University, I was looking for a volunteer opportunity involving food in the community. With experience as an NHS ward volunteer for over three years assisting at patient mealtimes and promoting eating well, I was keen to build capabilities outwith the healthcare environment. I was first attracted to working with Kaleyard after seeing their strap line Cook – Eat – Share, which embodies the social aspect of food from the kitchen to the table. The ability to appreciate the different cultural foods available and how to prepare these dishes is invaluable knowledge adding to my studies.
At Kaleyard, I volunteered at their Masterclass events, where attendees participate in hands-on cooking of authentic dishes from around the world, including Spanish Vegan, Scottish Pakistani, and Vietnamese Street food. My role involved setting up the kitchen, arranging ingredients, welcoming participants, clearing work areas throughout the event, and assisting in making it an enjoyable experience. Up and coming shifts include community events, Christmas Baking, and a Burns Day Special in the New Year.
Kaleyard, as a non-profit cook school, embodies the joy of cooking with the development of skills to encourage people in the community to add variety to their food choices and improve the quality of the dishes featuring in their diet. The concept of Kaleyard as a sustainable kitchen minimising food waste and maximising all aspects of the food we eat is particularly important to the current climate situation. I look forward to working with Sumayya Usmani, Kaleyard's founder, other volunteers and guest chefs at future events.