Welcome to Our Big Kitchen

Our Big Kitchen is a community run kitchen located in Bondi, Sydney. With support from volunteers, we prepare meals that are distributed to needy people from all walks of life. 

 Why not host your next corporate team building event, kids party, or other special event at Our Big Kitchen? Not only will it be lots of fun, but your efforts will help someone in need. 

 At Our Big Kitchen, our main ingredient is love.

  • The Fun Never Stops...

    Thursday, August 21, 2014

    The fun never stops at OBK and yet again, we have had an incredibly busy couple of weeks. Each time I sit down to pen these blogs and look at the fortnight past, I am genuinely amazed by the amount that this small organisation in the basement is able to achieve – it really is remarkable!

    If you are reading this blog, I guess you have noticed that our website has had a facelift – well more than a facelift, a full transformation. I hope that you will each take the time to browse through our new website – hopefully you will learn something new about the kitchen, find an activity you want to be a part of or simply enjoy some of the great photos we have on our various pages. We also have some new sections that will be updated regularly - for example, this fortnightly blog, our volunteer spotlight (which is definitely worth a read – we have such amazing people volunteering here!) and our event section – so be sure to check in to the website regularly to keep up to date with OBK. 

    Speaking of the new website, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank Sara McLean for her incredibly generosity, hard work and commitment to making this new website as fantastic as it is. Having now seen the behind the scenes of a website in the hand-over she gave us, I have a newfound appreciation for the unbelievable talent it takes to create something like this and of the time it consumes. Sara, I know I speak on behalf of the whole team at OBK in thanking you for this amazing gift you have given us! Thank you thank you thank you! The last couple weeks have seen a great variety of events – we have had Birthday Parties, Challah bakings, Corporates, Social Cook-Ins, School Groups and more! So here are some of the highlights...


    Sue Liu, who is one of OBK’s very good friends, brought in another group this week of about fifty people. The over 35’s social group cooked up a storm making a hearty soup, spaghetti bolognaise and babkas that were all made especially for Wayside Chapel. At this event, Sue surprised Greg with a fantastic gift; a triangle to summon people whilst in the kitchen. As Sue explains in her blog, this gift is something that has been a running joke between Sue and Greg since her first visit in May 2013. Sue’s generous gift has already been mounted to the wall and is in full usage to call people to attention...and to food. To read more, visit Sue’s blog: http://zulucommunications.com.au/why-a-triangle/  


    On Sunday we hosted a beautiful birthday party for our special guest of honour, Sophia, who celebrated her eleventh birthday here at OBK. All the girls had a great time creating baked goods and learning about the joy of giving, especially during our personal times of happiness. Sophia’s mum Carlie sent a beautiful email thanking OBK and detailing how Sophia continued to give on her special day: 
    “Thank you to you and OBK for a fabulous birthday party on Sunday.  The event was very well organised, the food delicious, all members of the OBK team were friendly and professional and the girls had a wonderful time.  They were very happy to donate their goodies and pleased to have been helpful.  The cookies and cupcakes were happily received by the Exodus night food van in the City and the Rough Edges Cafe in Darlinghurst.
     Thank you again for a very festive and enriching celebration.”
    Thank you Sophia for sharing your special day with us! Happy Happy Birthday!


    Sophia and her friends are however not the only Ascham girls we have had through OBK this week. With the continuing growth of the schools program, we have had more and more schools coming into OBK to volunteer and to learn about the gift of giving. It is lovely to see Ascham, and many other schools, placing such a strong emphasis on the importance of charity and giving to those less fortunate. Greg had a lovely correspondence with Ascham’s principal this week which was, evidently well received by their principal who published the following in the school’s newsletter:

    “Ascham students work hard at their studies, compete on the sporting field, participate in music, drama and debating, but I am always most proud of the girls when they participate in charity work. Ascham students in Year 6 and the Senior School have been helping out at Our Big Kitchen in Bondi and this week Mr Greg Fisher, the General Manager at Our Big Kitchen, wrote the following:

    ‘Hello Andrew, 
    Through your Careers Officer Ms Gillian Sloan, a number of your students come each Monday to Our Big Kitchen. 
    I just wanted to take a moment to congratulate you on the conduct of not only these girls, but all the Ascham students who come here with organised groups or as volunteers. Without exception, they are beautifully behaved, polite and friendly and are always happy to assist with whatever task they are given. 
    When having the privilege of serving those in need, once cannot stand on ceremony in terms of all the tasks that combine to make that support possible. Your girls seem to have a wonderful understand of that. 
    They are a credit to themselves, their families, and of course Ascham. 
    Best Wishes, 
    Greg Fisher’ 

    Congratulations not only to these students but also to the many others who give their time to help those in need.” 


    This Monday we welcomed 40 Masada students who, on their pupil free day from school, came to OBK to make Rocky Road, Cookies and Challah in honour of the soldiers. Whilst the kids all had fun completing this enjoyable activity it was evident to all that they were highly aware of the sacrifice of the soldiers and were immensely respectful of it. 


    All of this led up to what I will call ‘Mammoth Wednesday’ this week. The morning started with 64 kids from Glenmore Road Public School coming in with Kids Giving Back to participate in ‘Scones for Good.’ This program involves participants coming into the kitchen to bake scones before delivering them to Senior Citizens. It is definitely a rewarding experience for all involved as the young ones benefit from the wisdom of their elders and the Seniors enjoy the passion and excitement of the youngins. This is a program we have run a number of times and we are definitely excited about the next one. 


    Then we had groups from Bass High School and the Emanuel School come in together to participate in a Together for Humanity program. Throughout this program students cooked food together whilst learning about each other’s religions, practices and customs. This program is of particular importance to us as it really celebrates OBK’s ethos of breaking down barriers in order to reduce intolerance . The group made a delicious soup, a scrumptious spag-bol and challot that were then taken to Jewish House by the group. 


    Mammoth Wednesday finished with a very important program – organised by Roxanne Dunkel, the Gift of Life came into OBK and tested willing individuals to become part of the Bone Marrow Data Base. What the Gift of Life does is truly inspiring! To find out more about this fantastic organisation and to see whether you could help save a life, visit http://www.giftoflifeaustralia.org.au/ 


    As I sit here writing this, I am listening to the farewell speeches from a group of Bankwest employees who have just completed a Corporate Team Building activity here at OBK in conjunction with the House of Welcome. We have had 20 Banking Chefs in the kitchen this morning led by four chefs that come to us from the House of Welcome. The chefs have taught participants dishes from their home countries of Eygpt, Iran, etc and have enjoyed the fruits of their labour over a delicious sit down lunch. As participants finish packaging food and head out our doors now with boxes and boxes of food, they are heading over to the House of Welcome to deliver the food and enjoy afternoon tea together with those at the House. Thank you to BankWest for coming this morning, from what I have heard it sounds like it has been a fantastic morning for all. 


    Well, congratulations if you made it all the way to the end of this relatively lengthy blog - What can I say, hard to summarise such important work, completed by such inspiring people in such a wonderful organisation – there, I think I have now justified it =)
    Until next time... 

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  • Event filled fortnight!

    Thursday, July 31, 2014

    Boy, what a fortnight it has been! We have had so many people coming and joining in in a great variety of events. Within the kitchen, we have enjoyed some wonderful celebrations, have worked together in order to fulfil important work and came together as a community in solidarity for our brothers and sisters in Israel. It certainly has been busy here at OBK and so a massive thank you has to once again go out to our volunteers for all their help and support!

    We started off last week with a fantastic father/son cook-in hosted by Rabbi Motti Feldman. Together the group prepared 42 meals 3 course meals, all whilst bonding and enjoying some wonderful father and son time. With that many men in the kitchen...well I better leave it there J Thank you to all the guys who came in and got involved!!

    The next evening saw another 35 cooks in the kitchen for the Supper Club’s cook-in and dinner party. It was another wonderful night full of smiling faces and eager participants!

    Then on Wednesday night we hosted a very special Chai Challah in solidarity for all of the soldiers fighting to protect the State of Israel. With Israel currently in such tumultuous times, we have heard so many asking ‘what can I do?’ And so we decided to host a Challah Bake in order to allow members of the community to come and bake Challot and participate in tehillim as a way of showing our support and sending our prayers to all those suffering or fighting for the security of and the peace within Israel. The evening kicked off with a welcome from General Manager, Greg, before guests received a video message from Laya in Israel. Hearing from Laya certainly reminded participants of the importance of the evening as she urged us all to never underestimate the significance and power of the mitzvah of baking Challot.

    Following this lovely message from Laya, Pam Seidman delivered a truly moving and heart-felt account of what it is like to have her daughter, Talia, living in Israel at this time after making Alliyah just a couple years ago. Pam delicately and eloquently recounted the fear experienced when she learnt that her son-in-law was called back up to the army and again when she stayed on the phone with her daughter throughout an entire period in the bomb shelter to reassure her that she was not alone. Pam, thank you so much for your words and your bravery in delivering them – it was the perfect reminder to all guests as to the importance of the evening and of our prayers. 

    We then received another video message from our good friends Tamar and Jonathan who live on Kibbutz Nir Oz, right near the border of Gaza. Tamar and Jonathan volunteered here at OBK during their visit to Australia a couple years ago. Since then they have hosted members of our OBK family during their visits to Israel and so it was lovely to hear from them and to hear how touched they were that we were all thinking of them and their current situation. Happily, they look to be doing okay and told us how they are just continuing on with life as normally as possible despite their incredibly close proximity to Gaza and therefore their position in the middle of the current conflict.

    The evening then progressed to the Challah baking part of the night and after a fantastic instructional class from Simon, participants entered the kitchen in groups of 20 ready to create their challot. Guests were also treated to some delicious catering as members from the community mingled and enjoyed each other’s company. Finally, in Rabbi Slavin’s absence, Rabbi Yossi Shuchat from JEMs led a beautiful prayer and tehillim service. It was so wonderful having Yossi with us and we thank him sincerely for his wonderful contribution to the evening. The next morning we welcomed the Women’s Council for a cook-in, where again, we had wonderful participants producing some delicious results! The group cooked up a storm creating a soup, a chicken curry, a fried rice and an apple bubka – yum!

    Thursday night’s Challah Bake definitely left all in the kitchen with something to celebrate as we welcomed fifteen ladies here for a baby shower. Again, the power of the mitzvah of making Challot was clear and powerful as the women created the traditional bread as blessings for the new baby. Mazel tov to the expecting parents!

    Ascham girls filled the kitchen on Friday morning as they came in on a school program to cook up some pasta and meatballs. School programs are always so special to us at OBK as we love being a part of the education of the next generation. Furthermore, we love to teach kids the joy of being givers and not just recipients! Thank you to all the girls and their teachers who came along for the morning!

    On Sunday we had a group of kids from Cranbook and their parents join us for another cook-in. With fried rice, bubkas and cookies created by the parents and sons, we had some more scrumptious meals ready to send out to all those in need. Thank you to all the participants from last Sunday’s event!

    This Tuesday saw another wonderful group coming through our doors – a group of Joey Scouts and their parents, in to make cookies and Challot. These were then delivered by participants to specific crisis centres. It was great having these young scouts in the kitchen and we look forward to welcoming them again soon.

    And finally, last night we had fifty Ambos and another thirty members of the community band together to create meals for the homeless. Our ‘Soup for the Soul’ event, completed last year as well, was again a great success with everyone enjoying each-other’s company and with the benefits of their hard work being immediately appreciated as the emergency first responders delivered warm soups to the homeless on the streets. To everyone involved, thank you so much! It was such a fantastic event and we cannot wait to run it again! Below are some photos from the evening.

    So, it has been a fantastic, albeit busy, fortnight here at OBK! Looking forward to seeing you all in the kitchen soon! Until next week...

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