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Back in the kitchen at Refettorio Felix!

We were back cooking at Refettorio Felix at St. Cuthbert’s Centre this month, in this occasion we were joined by our lovely clients CBRE, who supported us with our front of house duties.

The day started nice and early for our chef team, Jo Pastry Chef and Simon Executive Chef travelled from Birmingham at 5am, they were joined in the kitchen by Dan Head Chef and Adam Sous Chef. Food donations are fundamental to the everyday operation of Refettorio Felix, our team started the day by collecting ingredients and prepping a menu for the day with the food available in the day.

Our team love the challenge of putting a menu together with limited resources and pack an incredible menu every time, in this occasion we served this delicious 3 course meal:

Starter: Paris brown mushroom niçoise salad and bread croutons

Main: Chicken curry with basmati rice

Vegetarian Main: Roast swede curry with rice

Dessert: Panettone bread & butter pudding

We had a wonderful time serving delicious food with smiles on our faces and helping out wherever possible (special thanks to our clients CBRE for their support)!

Throughout the Coronavirus crisis, Refettorio Felix transformed into a takeaway service and initially supplied other vulnerable adults services such as Age UK and SMART as well as frontline services such as local NHS workers. Continuing to provide a 3-course meal served takeaway or delivery. At the height of the lockdown, Refettorio Felix provided over 800 meals per day, 7 days a week. They also managed to reach out to and support more than double the number of people we did pre-pandemic through our remote mental health support service.

On the 4th October 2021, Refettorio Felix was able to reopen the centre and return to all the in-house services that they offered before the pandemic. Serving a restaurant quality, 3-course meal at the table to the most vulnerable and isolated in our community.

Suey Kweon, Marketing and Events Manager at Refettorio Felix, says ‘Our service post-pandemic has changed a lot, though we’ve always been adamant about keeping frontline services consistent, something that people can rely on as a point of stability in their lives, even when everything else in the world can be uncertain or feel insecure. We’ve learned a lot about how flexible we can be as a service, able to adapt to the changing needs of our guests and the post-pandemic world. A big part of that has been the takeaway service, which these days is as popular as the indoor service. Not only is that a response to different people’s social distancing preferences, but also an indication of how much our client base has grown in the last few years as more and more people face poverty or social exclusion in its various forms.

Suey continues ‘Volunteer support was really strong during lockdowns, particularly with many people working in the hospitality industry furloughed, and the level of generosity and commitment we received was truly outstanding. We continue to have a strong volunteer network who are foundational to the work we do and it’s wonderful to see individuals and organisations support us, even as they’ve gone back to work. Nevertheless, we’re always on the lookout to expand our network and strengthen our community – that’s why our relationship with Lexington is so important to us! Being able to rely on your regular corporate volunteering helps immensely in the sustainability of our project and ultimately means we’re able to provide more for our guests.’

Lexington’s achievements

It’s so important to us to give back to our community, over the past 12 months, we’ve been able to contribute 2100 meals and see over 100 volunteers take turns helping in the kitchen and out on front of house. It’s been great seeing our Lexy team make a difference!

About the centre

St. Cuthbert’s Centre is a 30-year-old charity that was joined by Refettorio Felix in 2017 through a collaboration with Chef Massimo Bottura’s non-profit organisation Food for Soul, creating the current Refettorio Felix at St. Cuthbert’s Centre.

They are a drop-in and therapeutic centre that believes in a better way to build and sustain a community of vulnerable and socially-isolated people. Their guests are often homeless and dealing with mental illness and/or substance misuse challenges when they come to Refettorio Felix. Every weekday they offer an extremely high quality 3-course lunch made entirely from surplus food together with a plethora of services such as therapeutic counselling, stimulating courses, free laundry and showers and creative workshops to encourage a sense of purpose and self-development.

The Felix Project

Refettorio Felix has partnered with The Felix Project – an independent charity – who supplies them with surplus produce including fruit, vegetables, cereals, meat and fish, dairy and herbs and spices. The Felix Project collects edible, in-date food that cannot be sold in retail and delivers it to charities so they can provide healthy meals for the most vulnerable in our society.

It is always such an amazing project to be a part of, and we can’t wait to be back very soon!