In Food + Drink

Sydney Food Charity Two Good Launches In Melbourne

Two Good, the social enterprise that supports domestic violence survivors and women’s refuges, has expanded interstate and opened a commercial kitchen in Melbourne.

It’s testament to the growth of the Sydney-based catering service, whose “Buy one, give one” delivery-meal concept has a popular following among inner city office workers. In the seemingly everyday act of buying their lunches, customers pay the goodness (and nutrition) forward. For every meal they purchase and have delivered to them, another meal is donated to a women’s refuge.

To date, the organisation has served more than 55,000 donated meals to women living in refuges in Sydney and Melbourne; and this number is set to rise exponentially with the establishment of a second commercial kitchen in South Melbourne’s YWCA.

“We’re inviting Melbourne businesses to buy our lunches, knowing that another will be donated to someone in need,” says Two Good co-founder Rob Caslick.

Some of the Two Good staff Photo: Nikki To

Two Good has come a long way from its humble origins as an “ad hoc cook out” in 2008. The roadside barbeque morphed into Australia’s first organic soup kitchen, based at St Canice’s church in the colourful Kings Cross district. Its aim was to feed hungry people, but along the way, staff saw that for people who were living it tough, a nourishing meal had a transformative effect on their lives and wellbeing.

By 2015, Two Good’s the “buy one, give one” purchasing model had taken hold, and they had employed dozens of women to cook thousands of meals from a kitchen, set in a former nightclub.

“Taking Two Good to Melbourne has been a long-held dream for us. We already have some of Australia’s best Melbourne-based chefs providing recipes and our new South Melbourne commercial kitchen allows us to deliver our meals and catering services to Melbourne customers and corporates,” says Caslick.

What’s remarkable about Two Good is its employment pathways model. Through its Work Work course, women in crisis undergo a 12-week training program in commercial cookery and hospitality, creating the weekday lunches as ordered through Two Good’s website (they are fully paid for their work during this time).

Two Good’s Melbourne head chef Laura Neville Photo: Supplied

By the program’s end, with the assistance of Two Good’s social worker, they are sufficiently up-skilled to seek further employment in kitchens and hospitality venues.

Helming the Melbourne kitchen is head chef Laura Neville, who’s clocked up years of pan-rattling experience at London’s Soho House, Sydney’s Bistro Moncur and Code Black in Melbourne. She’s also worked with another “food for good” project, Death to Nuggets – a healthy eating program for kids.

Neville will be leading the charge when the Melbourne kitchen runs three iterations of the Work Work program in 2019, with the hopes that by the end of the year, 18 graduates will become workforce-ready.

The more established Sydney kitchen will run four programs throughout the year, training a total of 24 participants.

For Caslick, the prospect of sustainable employment offers dignity and feelings of self-worth to these women.

“We believe that food is more than food, and we believe in community. We’re excited to be part of the Melbourne community and demonstrate to people at the lowest point in their lives that they are worthy of our love, time, respect, and are part of the community too,” he says.

Some of Australia’s most esteemed chefs have thrown their support behind Two Good, providing salad and soup recipes that the trainees cook up. From the rotating menu of wholesome lunches, you might order the Maggie Beer salad of chicken, asparagus and lentils on Monday; the Neil Perry Morrocan-style roast vegetable salad on Wednesday; and Ben Shewry’s (of Attica fame) soba noodle salad with chicken and kimchi come Friday.

Other culinary luminaries from Australia and abroad have donated their recipe know-how. The social enterprise counts Cumulus Inc.’s Andrew McConnell, Arthur Street Kitchen’s Hetty McKinnon and serial salad-er Yottam Ottolenghi amongst its roster of “Two Gooders”.

And that’s the crux of Two Good. It’s about providing food that’s delicious – and nutritious – to the wider community, be they corporate workers, or those re-establishing their lives after a period of crisis. As the Two Good motto goes, when you make and order, you make a difference.

Published 24 October, 2018