Super cooker brings composure to lunch club

13 August 2013

With the new cooker at Cuddy's Lunch Club

Preparations for the delicious, home-cooked lunches served at Cuddy's Lunch Club in Chester-le-Street have just become a whole lot easier thanks to the installation of a brand new, catering-sized cooker.

Since Cuddy's first opened in February, the dedicated volunteers have been catering for up to 40 guests using the four-ring hob and single oven in the church hall kitchen. With skill and flexibility the volunteers made the most of this limited resource and brought carsfull of their own kitchen equipment to help prepare and cook the lunch.

However, thanks to funding from the Durham Area Action Partnership (Durham AAP), their 'mobile kitchen' is now a thing of the past and everything is prepared using a super-sized cooker with seven burners and large, small and slow-cook ovens.

Joan, one of the lunch club's volunteer chefs said, "Preparing lunch for our guests used to be like a military operation, with catering sized pots, dishes and bowls all piled into my car. It was exhausting. We've now cooked our first lunch using the new cooker and what a difference it's made! We're all a lot more relaxed and can start to enjoy cooking again."

With differing tastes and a few vegetarians among their guests, the volunteers always like to offer a choice on their weekly menu, so enjoying the preparation is important.

"Last week's selection included a choice of vegetable pie, shepherd's pie or fish pie with treacle tart and custard for desert," added Joan. "Lunch is always served with a smile, but this week everything came with a big dollop of composure, too!"

The funding from Durham AAP has also paid for a fridge freezer and a serving trolley, improving storage and making it easier for volunteers to take the meals from the kitchen to the guests in the dining area.

Cuddy's Lunch Club is one of fourteen Parish and Community Enablement (PACE) projects around the region set up with the help of St Cuthberts Care and supported by local parishes. Each one is run by a team of volunteers from the local area.