Goodbye, potlucks. Cookluck Club is the shiny new way to get your friends together. Youth Food Movement Australia started the concept to get friends cooking together at their next get-together - but with ingredients that need using up in your friends’ fridges. It’s expanding everyone’s weeknight eating horizons, while also saving everyone’s droopy veggies from going to waste.
“We got a lot of interest in the concept, from shooting a TV segment to magazine interviews and being tweeted by Jamie Oliver last year. Now it’s this campaign we’re running in May, called Cookluck Club,” says Zo Zhou, who started it off the back of their cookluck lunches in the office.
“When you sign up at CookluckClub.com, you get everything you need to cook something epic with what’s already in your fridge.” Some pretty big names have lent their cooking hacks to the campaign, from Stephanie Alexander to Poh Ling Yeow and food saving queen, Sarah Wilson.
“We really wanted to give people a taster of how awesome cooklucks can be. So some local chefs at Tramsheds in Sydney are running a series of community-sourced feasts for us. The chefs will cook up a total surprise feast with whatever ingredients attendees bring. It’s going to be literally one-of-a-kind unpredictable.”
Cooklucks are also becoming the fastest, easiest way to get a bunch of friends together - even when you’re feeling super broke. “Organising dinner can be bloody stressful. We all know ‘going’ on Facebook is really just a ‘maybe,’ and we all have crazy schedules. But because most of the food is friend-sourced, it doesn’t matter. And unlike a potluck, instead of spending ages in the kitchen making something to bring, you get to spend that time with your mates. Probably making up some crazy shit. They’re also great even when we're feeling judged by our bank statements, but we want to say yes to that message that says ‘let’s catch up.’”
One of the other awesome side effects that Youth Food Movement Australia has noticed is that they’re cooking more creatively. “Cooklucking has made us more adventurous eaters and cooks for sure - and we don’t let recipes boss us around anymore, because cooklucks made us cook with what we've got. Now we’ve learnt to make almost any combination of random-ass ingredients taste good!”
Cooklucks are a warm fuzzy way to save food from being wasted too. “There’s enough guilt tripping and finger wagging around food waste. There’s so much potential for it to be an opportunity for creativity, but most food waste stories just make me feel like shit. And even most of the usual solutions make me think: does anyone actually have time to do any of this stuff?
That’s why we started Cookluck Club - it’s making people’s social lives easier, while using up all that food we had good intentions to finish,” reflects Zhou. “It’s really great to see government getting on board with this new approach too. We were lucky to be supported by some really progressive councils who funded the campaign. We couldn’t have done it without our founding partner Inner West Council, supporting partners City of Canada Bay and City of Parramatta, as well as the NSW EPA Waste Less, Recycle More initiative, funded from the waste levy.”
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