Ausnew Home Care | Perth chef Chris Anca's 'social enterprise' kitchen supporting disadvantaged people through food

Perth chef Chris Anca's 'social enterprise' kitchen supporting disadvantaged people through food

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Perth chef Chris Anca loves cooking and running a kitchen, but for years she had this nagging feeling that it lacked purpose.

That was until her business, Chris' Kitchen, started to provide access to employment for those who came from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Drawing from her own experiences after facing oppression in Romania, Ms Anca said she wanted to give opportunities to those who really needed them.

A woman in a white shirt smiles while standing in front of a group of people.
Chris Anca was driven to create a safe and inclusive space for staff, customers, and the community.  (ABC News: Zathia Bazeer)

"It doesn't matter if you're not skilled, or if you have a disability," she said.

"For [employees] it's the family they don't have and the spirit of belonging, acceptance and support [in a workplace]."

Chris' kitchen is giving employees like Chetna a second chance.

After coming to Australia from India eight years ago with no support and losing her job during the COVID-19 pandemic, she struggled financially.

A young girl and an older woman working in a kitchen.
Attendees try their hand at some of Sandra Bahbah-Gleeson's recipes. (ABC News: Zathia Bazeer)

"When I started working here from that time until now, I am [now] financially very strong," she said.

"Before that, I don't have finances and I don't have savings."

Cooking for a cause

Ms Anca's business was just one of many that would be categorised as a "social enterprise".

WA's Social Enterprise Council chair, Pat Ryan, said the business model brings in over $20 billion to the national economy each year and the demand is growing.

"If you know 30 per cent of the cost of the coffee you buy is going towards people otherwise excluded from the workforce … you'd feel better purchasing from that cafe."

A woman works in a kitchen while others watch intently.
People listen intently to Sandra Bahbah-Gleeson as she teaches them how to make Palestinian food.(ABC News: Zathia Bazeer)

Ms Anca was currently hosting cooking workshops alongside Perth based Palestinian chef, Sandra Bahbah-Gleeson to teach locals how to cook Palestinian food and raising money for Gaza residents.

"We did this for Ukrainian refugees when the war on Ukraine broke out … and so we're doing it now as well," Ms Anca said.

"Food brings people together and when you put a purpose to the food it brings people together on a completely different level."

Dishes of delicious-looking food on a table.
Mrs Bahbah Gleeson said she saw people from all walks of life joining the classes.(ABC News: Zathia Bazeer)

Mrs Bahbah-Gleeson said the cooking workshops go beyond food.

"I think it's an education thing, learning about food, but also education about Palestinian culture [and] about the [Gaza and Israel] conflict," she said.

"We feel so helpless at the moment this is just a small thing we can do right now.

"It's really humbling that other people want to experience that as well."

Dishes of delicious-looking food on a table.
Some of the delights made by Sandra Bahbah-Gleeson at Chris' Kitchen.(ABC News: Zathia Bazeer)

Mrs Bahbah-Gleeson said she saw people from all walks of life joining the classes.

"It breaks some stereotypes, I'm quite white looking, Christian as well, so for people to understand that we come in all different shapes, religions, and we all love each other," said Mrs Bahbah-Gleeson.

A large group of people eating food with dishes in the foreground of the shot.
People enjoying a sumptuous feast at Chris' Kitchen.(ABC News: Zathia Bazeer)

Ms Anca said businesses with a purpose build community and trust amongst customers.

"I do believe we live in an age where people want to shop differently, people want to have a feeling that the shopping that they do and the purchases that they make have an impact."


Source: ABC

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