Plan Zheroes is a registered charity that wants to eradicate food poverty, and with the support of Keytree, the objective has been in full swing for the past couple of years. The goal was to link any food outlets with surplus produce to homeless charities and the volunteers who would deliver the food.
Keytree created the Zheroes App, an interactive platform that coordinates all the ingredients needed to ensure leftover meals from central London outlets reaches those who need it most – and the development work is all on a pro-bono basis.
Each year two billion tonnes of food across the globe goes to waste, according to a 2013 report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the UK is one of the leading culprits in Europe when it comes to food waste – but France is providing inspiration in how to deal with excess food. In 2015, the French government passed legislation banning supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food – they must now donate it to charities or for animal feed.
Every year in the United Kingdom, more than 10 million tonnes of food is thrown away but Plan Zheroes says 60 percent of this food could be saved and used.
The volunteers from Keytree putting the finishing touches to the vegetarian option.
Turning a crazy idea into reality
Jeremy Pang, the founder of School of Wok, had an idea – gather together in one place 200 volunteers, charge £100 a head and teach them all how to use a wok to create 1,000 meals for homeless charities – all in one morning. He was keen to provide food to those who needed it most and was already running an event called ‘Cook for the Homeless’. If a class of 20 people in his school cook 40 meals, he could send the surplus to a homeless charity, but he felt the numbers could be improved.
The celebrity chef wanted to organise an event that would generate a much larger amount of dinners and highlight the cause. Jeremy said: “I wanted to do this event, but when I started to search for charities that would accept 1,000 meals, it was difficult, but eventually we found Plan Zheroes”.
In conjunction with Plan Zheroes, ‘Wok for 1,000’ was born. Hosted by Borough Market in central London, 200 budding chefs gathered at 8:30am and with some guidance and training cooked the meals for the homeless. Once packaged and ready, couriers took the food to a range of homeless centres including St Mungo’s, Spitalfields Crypt Trust and The Passage – all delivered for free by Supper London.
Wok for 1,000
Keytree sent a team of volunteers to join in the fun, and the outcome beat all expectations with the 200 strong class making thousands of spring rolls and enough food to feed all the attendees.
Jeremy said: “It was amazing. Today was smooth, and we fed over 1,000 people in less than three hours. It couldn’t have gone better”. He is keen to do it again next year and maybe try ‘Wok for 2,000’.
Plan Zheroes co-founder Lotti Henley arrived as the event was drawing to a close and was overjoyed to see so many people helping her dream become a reality and any future events will contribute to providing continued support and awareness for such a vital cause.
Jeremy Pang and Lottie Henley review the event.
More spring rolls than expected but all ready for the deep fat fryer.
“It was amazing. Today was smooth, and we fed over 1,000 people in less than three hours. It couldn’t have gone better”
Jeremy Pang – founder School of Wok