C & C Alpha Group ‘Kitchen Takeover’ at The Passage

By Jessica Stevens, C & C Alpha Group employee

On Wednesday 25th October, eleven volunteers from C & C Alpha Group visited Passage House for the much-anticipated C & C Alpha Kitchen Takeover.

The work that The Passage charity does is crucial, as the Borough of Westminster, and Victoria in particular, sees the largest number of rough sleepers in the UK on a nightly basis – with on average 800 people sleeping rough on any given night.

The services offered by The Passage are multi-faceted for visiting clients: a hot meal, a shower, or to gain practical mentoring and advice from trained centre staff. Every day The Passage opens its doors for breakfast and lunch to around 150 clients. They serve hot meals and drinks to all who come. This service is provided on a voluntary manpower basis, so as a Company we saw an opportunity to get involved and make a real difference.

The C & C volunteers arrived at 8:30am, and after a short briefing we took the kitchen by storm. The volunteers who usually run the breakfast and lunch service took the afternoon off and left us under the expert supervision of Head Chef of eighteen years, Claudette. Claudette went about assigning our roles and galvanising the team, then is was down to business.

The starter was butternut squash and coconut milk soup, followed by a choice of main course between vegetarian chilli and minced beef cottage pie with roasted vegetables and sautéed potatoes. This was followed by a dessert of chocolate sponge with chocolate custard.

There was a great sense of pride at the hearty meal we produced, which looked very appetising. Everybody got through lots of work, in fact it was exhausting! Two of our team, Veronica and Bhama, prepped and chopped a staggering 40kg of potatoes, whilst myself and other C & C volunteers Osama, Kalp and Navaneetha chopped over 60kg of mixed vegetables. Samantha and Kunal chopped 40kg of onions.

We cooked and served lunch to over 120 of the charity’s clients, and it was thoroughly rewarding to see the difference that the warmth and the delicious food made to the people who came to eat it.

All that was left afterwards was to finish by washing up, and with Navaneetha in charge of the till there could be no doubt that collection of all of the vouchers was correct.

It is such an eye-opening experience to see how much hard work goes into The Passage from the regular volunteers who are making a difference each and every day.

The whole team was united in a sense of pride at our sponsorship of the charity, and we are looking forward to more initiatives that will support The Passage in any way that we can.