Hospitality students working in AUT’s commercial kitchen are preparing high-quality food for the homeless.
Sally Claire Nutt is one of about 14 students currently spending four weeks in the University’s commercial kitchen as part of its level four commercial production paper, in the first year of the Diploma of Culinary Arts.
The food that they produce would normally be sold through the shop Piko2Go on campus, but due to Piko2Go not operating for the remainder of this semester, 240 boxed meals are instead being given to Sunday Blessings to distribute to those in need.
"During Coronavirus, it's been really hard knowing what to do and how to help out,” Sally says.
“And so, knowing that just being at school we still contribute, and we are still able to help people, is amazing. It allows us to do something that we otherwise probably wouldn't get the chance to do."
Associate Head of School John Kelly says the arrangement means that something positive for the community can come out of Covid-19.
"The students are still getting the same quality of learning and the same experience,” he says.
"It's a full meal, adapted from the Piko2Go menu - nutritionally balanced, with good flavour and looking attractive to eat."
In recent weeks, desserts made by patisserie students for assessment have also been distributed by Sunday Blessings to the homeless, as were dozens of loaves of restaurant-quality bread.
Sunday Blessings is a social enterprise founded by AUT Law student Danielle LeGallais and AUT graduate Laurie McLeod.
It collects let-over quality surplus food that volunteers then turn into home-cooked meals, served for free to those in need outside the Central City Library on Sunday and Tuesday evenings.
Danielle LeGallais says that post-Covid Sunday Blessings has been feeding about 100 people each meal, although this is expected to increase in the coming months.
AUT and its students have been making a real difference for those in severe poverty, particularly as Covid-19 has had a big impact on Sunday Blessings, she says.
"Thank you so much for helping us continue our service during this fluid period, where we have lost all our volunteers and our donors - because no one had cafes that were open.
"What you are doing is you are actually making an impact through your studies right now.”