Food Connect

As a local food distributor, Food Connect delivers local produce in set weekly boxes to its customers. Food Connect's commitment to community supported agriculture means their weekly boxes are sometimes full of unexpected contents.

Food Connect customers are resourceful and wish to use the entirety of their boxes in the most efficient and delicious way possible.

One part of the Fair Food Chef research project looked at this phenomenon and ran a cooking session to pilot the concept of improvisational cooking as a technique that lets the produce drive the meal making.

The filmed visual outcome of the study pilot encourages Food Connect customers not to rely on preconceived meal ideas, but to rely on their own cognitive creativity, flexibility and adaptability. 

The Fair Food Chefs research project identified a chef's expectations of constantly consistent ingredients as unrealistic; whereas creative, flexible and adaptable menu planning can engage a wider variety of available food.

Jarrod Huey from Merriweather Cafe and apprentice chef Mat Boyce receive a box of produce left over from Food Connect's weekly packing process, made up of local, seasonal and ecological food sourced directly from Food Connect's farmers.

In the communal kitchen at Food Connect Huey and Boyce demonstrate a cooking process that places value on all the ingredients given to them, and allows the meal planning to take shape around them , somewhat inspired by MasterChef’s ‘mystery box’ segment.

A critically problematic allowance given to MasterChef participants is access to supplementary ingredients from a small supermarket called the ‘pantry’, stocked and sponsored by supermarket giant, Coles. Although the ingredient-driven cooking method challenges participants to be creative, the arbitrary use of ingredients and the selectivity provided by the Coles pantry perpetuates consumer attitudes towards an endless availability of food.

[our] reliance on, and desire for, commodity in the kitchen, stemming from the related processes of industrialisation, capitalism, and design are ultimately contributing to a loss of ability and cognisance in world making
— Lennah Kuskoff, Redesigning Everyday Practices Toward Sustainability: Potentialities and Limitations of a Community Kitchen

Removing the emphasis from the end-product – not to mention the fetishisation of photogenic or 'instagrammable' food– allows chefs, cooks and consumers to begin to consider the systems and the people behind their food. 

To learn more about Food Connect's procurement values, head here.

Paula Hardie