Diners at Food for Thought enjoyed a dinner with a difference as they enjoyed a meal of rescued food

BANQUET: Ballarat Foundation chief executive Matt Jenkins and fundraising coordinator Margo Pettit tuck in to a serve of dumplings, the first course of the Asian-inspired Food for Thought rescued food feast, part of Plate Up Ballarat. Picture: Kate Healy
BANQUET: Ballarat Foundation chief executive Matt Jenkins and fundraising coordinator Margo Pettit tuck in to a serve of dumplings, the first course of the Asian-inspired Food for Thought rescued food feast, part of Plate Up Ballarat. Picture: Kate Healy

The logistics of pulling together a meal of rescued food are immense, but Ballarat’s food relief charities manage to pull off the feat every day.

To give the wider community a glimpse of the challenges, the Ballarat Foundation hosted the Food for Thought dinner where more than 100 people enjoyed an Asian-inspired banquet created from rescued food where the total food bill was less than $100.

Samosas, dumplings, okonomiyaki, bread and butter pudding, poached quinces and sangria were on the menu for Saturday’s event.

“The crowd got a real taste of what can be done when you can collaborate across the community,” said Ballarat Foundation chief executive Matt Jenkins.

Mr Jenkins said the dinner was a replica of what happens every day at charitable food relief agencies.

“We know how difficult Food for Thought was in trying to bring everything together, and you can only appreciate what food charities have to go through each and every day to be able to do that,” he said.

“Our food agencies do an amazing job with the resources they’ve got and we need to create more awareness to be able to give them more support.”

Mr Jenkins thanked Margot Pettit who coordinated the donations.

Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre community cooking program made samosas using vegetables from their garden, dumplings were made from donated Western Plains pork and served in an Asian broth made from duck bones donated by Ballarat butcher John Harbour.

YMCA Ballarat supplied vegetables grown in their community garden and Bungaree potatoes rejected from McCain went in to the okonomiyaki.

Ballarat Specialist School FARM cafe created bread and butter pudding with bread left over from the bakery, and Suzi Fitzpatrick from Nouvelle Orleans poached quinces to accompany the pudding. 

The meals were washed down with a sangria made by Mitchell Harris Wines using leftover wine and those with damaged labels.