Tell us about yourself

Hi, I’m Gabi.

I live in Bedford with my husband and 2 dogs and love being a Bedfordian! Having lived in Spain for a few years, ironically it was the warmth and sense of belonging to the local community here in Bedford that drew us back from a somewhat hedonistic lifestyle.

Why did you decide to volunteer for Food etc.?

I love eating! I am a qualified yoga teacher and sharing ideas for living a healthy and mindful life is very important to me.

Preparing healthy, nutritious and affordable meals using fresh and locally produced ingredients is something which truly gives me a lot of enjoyment. It’s frustrating that so many struggle to feed their families well, for all sorts of reasons – poverty, lack of opportunity, poor mental health, low self-confidence, or environmental – there are so many obstacles.  Food etc. strives to offer opportunities, education and empowerment by encouraging confidence in the kitchen with the guidance of an enthusiastic and empathetic volunteer.

What’s your favourite thing about Food etc?

Food etc. is such a great organisation to be involved with. All the volunteers are like minded and just want to help local families (and individuals) to get involved with nourishing their bodies in an affordable and enjoyable way. To be able to share my top tips and enthusiasm for preparing easy and delicious meals feels such a valuable use of my time and I’m happy to give it.

What have been your greatest challenges?

Not many of the venues we use to teach are state of the art professional, fully equipped kitchens. But …. not many of the volunteers or the families we help are fully trained chefs!

It’s actually very rewarding to use a challenging space with minimal equipment and STILL be able to knock out something tasty and fun to make. It’s about doing the most, with the least and sending families home with food and ideas for their mealtimes.

What would I say to a potential volunteer?

Whatever you can do, do it. Food etc. needs many kinds of support staff, so don’t worry if cooking is not your strong point (not yet, anyway). Think about the value of your time, given freely to those who need a little help along the way. You don’t need to be an expert, just open minded enough to muddle along and change some perceptions (and maybe lives) by sharing your kitchen knowledge. It’s really FUN!

What’s your healthy go to meal?

Soup! The ultimate comfort food. So easy, so versatile, so cheap. My sons’ favourite used to be Mr Noah’s soup – the vegetables went in two by two……!! Celery sticks, carrots, potatoes, garlic, peppers – any veg that needs using up really. No hard and fast rules. Add a handful of red lentils or can of beans to include some protein element, a tin of tomatoes, and as much or little spice and seasoning that you want. Blend very briefly (leaving some chunky bits) with a cheap and cheerful stick blender (best kitchen gadget ever!) and in 15 minutes you’ve created deliciousness that can also form the base of a tomato sauce for pasta. Always a winner.