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Making soup for a good cause — and how you can take part

Play your part in making 67,000 litres of soup for the Mandela Day challenge

23 June 2022 - 09:37
Chefs Dasen Sarugaser, Tembisa Jordaan and James Khoza.
Chefs Dasen Sarugaser, Tembisa Jordaan and James Khoza.
Image: Hilary Biller

Earlier this week at the SA Chefs Association at the School of Hospitality and Tourism at the University of Johannesburg in Auckland Park, I watched as a group of chefs whipped up a nourishing soup. This was no ordinary soup as MasterChef finalist Tembisa Jordaan, one of the #67 000 litres challenge’s ambassadors, chatted, chopped and stirred up a pot of wholesome goodness with chef Dasen Sarugaser, a pivotal part of the Chefs with Compassion (CWC) team.

Kicking off the 2022 launch #67 000 litres challenge, chef James Khoza, president of  the SA Chefs Association and CWC ambassador, explained what the challenge is, how it works and shared how the initiative had last year produced a total of 70,897 litres of soup that fed over 280,000 people on Mandela Day.

Evocative spicy aromas emanated from the soup being made. We were salivating. While cooking, the chefs shared some handy tips. Curious about the bowl of lettuce for the soup, Sarugaser explained that CWC receive regular donations of lettuce that would otherwise go to waste and he discovered that by adding it to soup towards the end of cooking, it offered added flavour and bulked up the soup, adding texture and a creaminess once it was blended.

We'd seen Jordaan brown chicken giblets, removing them and shredding the meat from the bones before returning the meat to the soup. She enhanced the nutritive value by adding chopped chicken livers — which are affordable and rich in protein and iron — to the soup.  And her tip is to add a generous helping of curry powder which adds flavour and colour to the broth.

The best part of the #67 000 litres challenge is that everyone can get involved because it’s easy, affordable and comes with big helpings of feel-good factor. CWC urges everyone to participate by making a pot of soup, be it small or large.

The tasty soup the chefs prepared
The tasty soup the chefs prepared
Image: Hilary Biller

The ask is for participants to clean out the pantry and fridge, request donations of food from their favourite store and spend 67 minutes helping to cook 67,000 litres of nourishing  and safe soup using vegetables, pulses, beans and, if possible, added protein. Once done, pack the soup into repurposed containers that seal, choose the charity of your choice, waste pickers or other vulnerable people on the street and deliver the soup to the recipients.

The #67 000 litres challenge is just a small part of what Chefs with Compassion undertake.  According to CWC, 10-million tonnes of food goes to waste every year in SA, this is a third of what is produced in the country and more than enough to feed the 19-million people that go hungry every day. 

Their mission is to rescue and redirect as much as the perfectly good food as possible through their community of cooks, caterers and compassionate chefs who cook nourishing meals for vulnerable people. 

See cwc.org.za

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