Defence members cook off for a good cause

Former and current serving members of the ADF went head-to-head in a kitchen cook-off competition during Veterans Health Week.

CAPTION: Members of Headquarters 17th Sustainment Brigade joined RSL LifeCare and a number of other veteran charities for a community engagement activity at Our Big Kitchen, Bondi, NSW. Story by Captain Andrew Page.

The event, held at Our Big Kitchen in Bondi, NSW, resulted in more than 200 meals being prepared for vulnerable members of the local Sydney community and beyond.

Formation welfare officer with 17th Brigade, Warrant Officer Jayne Morley, said her team was judged as cooking the best meals by the staff at Our Big Kitchen.

“There was a total of four teams, with six people on ours. There was a lot of camaraderie, team work and healthy competition, with some great cooking ideas and skills on display,” Warrant Officer Morley said.

“As a Defence member, being able to give something back to the community, especially for those who are in need and potentially may be homeless, including veterans, made this such a worthwhile and rewarding activity.”

Operations manager of Veterans Services for RSL Life Care, Justin Donnelly, said current and former members of the ADF didn’t muck around and swung into action.

“We spent the day preparing delicious and nutritious meals which will be provided to local charities, and they in turn provide the meals to people in the community who need them most,” Mr Donnelly said.

“We also had residents from our Homes for Heroes program in attendance, which is basically our critical service to veterans who are experiencing homelessness, or at risk of become homeless.

“This is a great way for them to get involved with community members, strike up a conversation and feel a sense of belonging.”

Our Big Kitchen was founded in 2005 by Rabbi Dovid Slavin and Laya Slavin.

Rabbi Slavin said he knew what it was like for people who were doing it tough and there was a good reason he jumped at the chance to host ADF members.

“I am a child of Holocaust survivors and I know what happens when power is in the wrong hands,” Rabbi Slavin said.

“I’ve had the privilege of travelling around the world, and I know what the rest of the world looks like and how lucky we are here in Australia.”

Today, Our Big Kitchen prepares more than 250,000 meals each year for distribution to charities, including the Salvation Army, Cancer Council and Headspace, as well as women’s, youth and children’s centres.





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