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  • Writer's pictureStrategic PR

On Youth Day, when life gives you melons... you make melon curry!

Youth Day in 2020 has special significance for a group of culinary students

who were brought together by Chefs with Compassion, a surplus-driven movement to

nourish those in need. It's a day when their collective spirit for

volunteering motivated them to brave the icy weather to prepare a meal from

surplus rescued produce for children in need.

The 12 youths from six culinary schools (HTA School of Culinary Art, Swiss

Hotel School, Capsicum Culinary Studio, the National Youth Chef Training

Programme, JHB Culinary & Pastry School, and Culinary Passions School of

Hospitality), arrived bright and early for a ready-steady-cook challenge.

This is what Chefs with Compassion is all about - taking produce that would

otherwise have gone to waste - no matter what it might be - and turning it

into delicious, nutritious meals for people who would otherwise go hungry.

Faced with a mountain of melons and an abundance of cauliflower, Executive

Chef of the African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel Autograph Collection, Adrian

Vigus-Brown, who is one of the management team driving Chefs with

Compassion, decided on a melon curry. He comments, "Today we've got youth

cooking for the youth on Youth Day. Through Nosh Food Rescue NPC, Chefs with

Compassion rescues produce and the chefs in our network of over 30 kitchen

hubs turn it into meals. This means the chefs sometimes don't have much of a

choice of we're going to do, but we do have a choice of how we're going to

do it. Today, we're making a hearty, fortified curry for 150 children at the

New Life Centre for Girls and Children ECDC in Mayibuye, two of the homes

supported by Chef Citrum Khumalo and the CK Foundation."

Chefs with Compassion has been serving meals to the needy since just after

the lockdown started, and today has over 32 kitchen hubs who voluntarily

give of their time and resources to convert the rescued produce into

nourishing meals. The organisation is driven entirely by volunteers and, to

date, Chefs with Compassion has served over 220 000 meals produced from 12,5

tonnes of rescued produce across the greater Johannesburg area and Pretoria,

and is expanding its footprint into Durban, Cape Town, Rustenberg and


For more information and to assist with donations, surplus end-of-life

products and logistical requirements, go to

or follow them on Facebook/chefswithcompassion.

Picture (back Left): Lungelo Mbotshwa (Capsicum Culinary Studio), Marlin Pretorius (HTA School of Culinary Art), Uriel Grobbelaar (Swiss Hotel School), Calson Madlala (National Youth Chef Training Programme), Austine Nxumalo (National Youth Chef Training Programme) and Emile Wienand (HTA School of Culinary Art). Front Left: Leroy Mguni (HTA School of Culinary Art), Selometsi Mokoene (Swiss Hotel School), Sheila Dube (Culinary Passion School of Hospitality), Keitumetse Mgwane (JHB Culinary & Pastry School), Gomolemo Maruping (JHB Culinary & Pastry School) and Minenhle Mncube (Culinary Passion School of Hospitality).

About Chefs with Compassion

Chefs with Compassion is a registered Not For Profit company, founded in

2020 in response to the humanitarian crisis brought about by the COVID-19

pandemic. It is an initiative based on a collaboration between organisations

and individuals whose greatest wish is to alleviate the hunger and suffering

of South Africa, taking surplus rescued produce and connecting chefs,

kitchens, beneficiaries and supporters in cities and towns around South


Chefs with Compassion's founding partners are NOSH Food Rescue NPC (NOSH),

the South African Chefs Association (SA Chefs), Slow Food International, the

Slow Food Chefs Alliance SA, and Strategic Public Relations

Long after the COVID-19 crisis ends, Chefs with Compassion will continue its

vision of transforming surplus rescued produce into nourishing meals through

the compassion of chefs. The long-term vision underpinning Chefs with

Compassion is to streamline and entrench the model so that it runs

post-Corona and inspires other industries to follow suit.

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