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.

  • Welcome Home!

    Thursday, September 04, 2014

    So welcome to another OBK fortnightly update. Before anything else, it is with great pleasure that I tell you all that the Slavin family is home and back at OBK where they have been sorely missed! OBK was definitely buzzing today with the return of the Slavins and it was lovely to see everyone as excited to see them home as they are to be back at OBK. It is definitely nice having everyone back together again and the kitchen today was once again filled with dancing volunteers and even the sounding of the shofar blown by Rabbi Slavin as we build up to Rosh Hashana. 

    Deloitte Consulting 

    The two weeks leading up to their return were, as always, very busy but also very exciting and a lot of fun as we welcomed more new faces and of course our old friends back. Last blog I left off with Bankwest heading out our doors and towards The House of Welcome, food in hand. That same evening we welcomed another corporate group from Deloitte Consulting who worked with Chef Jonathan to create a hearty soup, Chicken Cacciatore and Apple Bubkas. Our number of corporate team building events is certainly on the rise, prompting us to begin creating more exciting options for teams to pick from. It is so lovely seeing so many corporations, large and small, eagerly coming in to give back to the community.

    Girl Guides

    Of course, OBK is for people of all ages so following the corporates it was really nice to welcome a group of absolutely lovely Girl Guides to come and make cookies and Challah. The girls, who came with three leaders, immediately absorbed the ethos of the place and seemed extremely enthusiastic to produce great results, understanding the benefit of the treats that they were creating. We loved having the girls in and look forward to hopefully welcoming them back soon. 


    Moishe House 

    Forever our busy day, Thursday night we welcomed a group from Moishe House who cooked and later dined on the food that they had created. Moishe House describes itself as being a ‘pluralistic international organization that provides meaningful Jewish experiences to young adults in their 20s. Their innovative model trains, supports and sponsors young Jewish leaders as they create vibrant home-based communities for themselves and their peers.’ Using OBK as a ‘host home’ for their latest Sydney even, the group made a delicious bolognaise that twenty five of their members enjoyed. For more information on Moishe House visit http://www.moishehouse.org/

    Birthdays

    The last couple of weeks have seen us joining in the birthday celebrations for two lovely young ladies, Jaimee, 6, and Anneliese, 8. Both girls invited their friends to come and celebrate their special days by making treats such as cookies and cupcakes, participating in lots of fun activities and by learning the joys of giving to others. A big thanks to Jaimee, Anneliese and all their guests for helping us to create so many delicious treats to go to kids in hospital – Happy Birthday girls! 

    Mazal Tov

    A big Mazal Tov to Rabbi Yossi and Rivky Shuchat on the birth of their beautiful new daughter, Bina Raizel. On Sunday we celebrated this wonderful new addition to their family with many of their nearest and dearest participating in Challah baking, sand art candle making, a jumping castle and cupcake decorating. Rabbi Yossi and Rivky are so special to all of us at OBK and our closeness with them and the JEMs organisation is truly something that we all cherish. So to Yossi, Rivky, Mushka and Shaina Bracha, Mazal Tov! And Bina Raizel, welcome to the OBK family! 

    Cooking Class 

    Last night we welcomed another group for a cook-in that focused on blending Israeli and Russian food together by cooking up a storm including Falafels and Cherry Vareniki. The group was co-organised by Hillel, Hagshamah and Kangarusski and brought together the youth of the Russian speaking Jewish community and the wider community. It was a great night and we look forward to seeing many of them again. 

    Amongst all of this our usual work with schools, volunteers and caterers powered on as normal. In an effort to keep this post shorter than previous ones, I will leave it here and wish you all a Shabbat Shalom and a lovely fortnight ahead. I look forward to updating you on all the excitement that takes place here over the next couple of weeks. 

    Finally - Just a reminder to book in for the Rosh Hashana dinners at OBK if you would like to join us for the celebrations. Details are below 

    Until then =) 



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  • 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...

    ZULU

    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/  



    HAPPY BIRTHDAY SOPHIA

    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!

    ASCHAM 

    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.” 

    MASADA

    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. 

    SCONES FOR GOOD 

    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. 

    TOGETHER FOR HUMANITY

    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. 

    GIFT OF LIFE

    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/ 

    BANKWEST AND HOUSE OF WELCOME 

    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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