Orange City Council and LiveBetter Community Services have teamed up in the kitchen to show single seniors that cooking healthy meals for one person doesn’t have to be costly and difficult.
The fortnightly Cooking for One program run at Café Connect has been designed by chef Jamie to focus on easy recipes that can span multiple meals.
Initially the program was targeted at older single males, some of whom had never cooked a meal in their life or were widowed and demotivated to cook for one. However, the Cooking for One program has also attracted females, enhancing the social aspect of the classes.
Chef Jamie says the recipes he teaches are home style, can be frozen if needed and can span multiple meals. “We recently cooked a roast chicken dish where I showed them how to break down a whole chicken, roast the best bits with some veggies and then turn the bones and leftover chicken into a stock that we froze and used in the next class to make chicken soup.”
“I’ve also taught them how to propagate off-cuts of vegetables in water that can later be planted in a vegetable garden – it’s all about making the ingredients work harder for you.”
The program continues to attract between 7-10 people per class and Chef Jamie says it’s great to see returning faces.
“We recently had two men in their sixties who had never cooked a meal in their life. I showed them how to cook a steak and roast veggies and they couldn’t believe how easy it was.”
LiveBetter Community Hubs Manager Alicia Price says that while the cooking program was developed to help single seniors cook easy meals at home, adding a social element was equally important as many seniors are isolated and not accessing services that are available to them. “It’s great to see the participants sit together after the class, have a chat and a cuppa or even eat the meals they just made together. Sometimes they catch up at other times as well.”
Cooking for One regular and volunteer at the council, Lucy Trommestad, said the program is just what she needed.
“I live alone and it’s all too easy to go to the freezer and grab a frozen dinner, so I’m finding these classes invaluable. The recipes are easy and taste great. I also love the social aspect and have met some really lovely people.”
Café Connect is a social enterprise café run by LiveBetter Community Services to provide an inclusive, social space that supports all members of the community.