Gusto in the Kitchen

The knives at McAuley House have never felt as sharp, the pots as scrubbed and the bench tops as squeaky clean. Organised by Rose, the House Manager, women living at McAuley House had the chance to take part in a five-week basic cooking course through Jamie’s Ministry of Food in Melbourne. 

“It was a great success,” according to Rose.

The aim of the course was to help people learn basic skills from knife sharpening, kitchen hygiene through to how to use pantry items well.

The course has spurred one woman to start studying for a certificate in cooking.

“She now has a repertoire of simple meals to draw on, which is vital as she prepares to live in her own home after many years of homelessness,” Rose said.

The Ministry of Food course dovetailed with a new program that has started at McAuley House to encourage residents to learn new cooking skills, and work with Rose to prepare the daily meals.

“The program was an initiative from our newly formed Co-Design Council, with the women eager to learn how to cook a meal from scratch,” Rose said.

The new program embraces cleaning environmentally, choosing vinegar and bicarbonate of soda over supermarket products, how to be safe around the house, and cleaning equipment carefully.

“These are life skills that we all need. Many of the women living at McAuley House have not had the opportunity to use them for a long time. Either they have not had a kitchen or home to clean or others have controlled them about how they should clean and what they should cook,” Rose said.

All purpose kitchen cleaner

Baking Soda
Essential Oil (optional)
Dish soap

Equipment or Tools
Spray bottle
Scrub brush
Measuring spoons

Using funnel, put 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon dish soap, and 2 tablespoons vinegar into your spray bottle. Give it a stir/shake. Let it sit for a minute, now fill bottle with warm water and shake it up. Give it a few more minutes to calm down, and add a few drops of essential oil if desired.

Note:This is the cover of Jamie's book, published by Penguin.