Tuesday, July 21, 2020


Soweto, South Africa

In a remarkable display of the true spirit of Mandela Day, over 300 chefs stood proudly
 behind their stoves, united despite the devastation of their industry, 
taking collective action to put their heart where their passion lies – feeding people – and sending a clear and unequivocal message of the indomitable spirit of the chef. 
The result… the target of 67 000 litres of soup was exceeded, and instead, 77 455 litres was cooked, 
serving 309 820 cups of soup to hungry people all over the country.

In 10 cities - Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban, Bloemfontein, Mokopane, Rustenburg, Vereeniging, Port Elizabeth and Nelspruit 
- a hearty, nutritious soup was cooked with compassion and care by chefs from restaurants, hotels, cooking schools and catering operations.
The initiative was made possible by a collaboration between two not-for-profit organisations founded in a philosophy of rescuing surplus food to nourish those in need – 
Chefs with Compassion and SA Harvest. 
“The success of this initiative comes down to collaboration, and we welcome all opportunities to work together with other rescue organisations,” comments Ozzy Nel, Operations Manager of SA Harvest. 
“Through the collective involvement of two rescue organisations, over 300 chefs in 10 cities, at least 20 partners and sponsors, and over 80 beneficiary organisations,
 the seemingly impossible target was reached.” 

Commenting on the participation of chefs in 10 cities, whose labour resulted in delicious, nutritious soup being served around the country, 
Chef Coo Pillay, National Project Manager of Chefs with Compassion, says,
 “There is no doubt that the competitive spirit of the chef came into play, as the ‘big four’ cities fought to not only exceed their target, but also to beat the other cities in the count of litres cooked and, most importantly, lives impacted.”

The participant producing the largest volume of soup from one kitchen was the
 Primi kitchen at Primi World, captained by Chef Bob Knuckey and co-ordinated by Ozzy Nel
The extensive logistics involved in collecting soup from 16 kitchens before sunrise on Saturday morning to deliver it to 23 beneficiary organisations in 29 locations by sunset was capably executed by Cape Town operations manager Manu Wegmershaus and assisted by Meridian Wines, who stepped in to assist with vans and drivers.
Overall, it was Johannesburg who won bragging rights for their incredible volume of 22 092 litres prepared by 36 kitchens, followed by Cape Town with 18 850 litres cooked by 16 kitchens, Pretoria with 14 838 litres prepared by 17 kitchens, and Durban with 11 285 litres cooked by 17 kitchens. The city with the highest average was Rustenburg, with 4 200 litres from one kitchen.

The quality of the soup served around the country was evident in thousands of pictures shared on social media, with nutritious sugar beans delivering plant-based protein, and mountains of vegetables, collectively requiring hundreds of hours of cleaning and preparation, making up the bulk of the soup. “It was clear that the chefs took great pride in preparing meals that they could be proud of,” 
says Chef Coo.

Gratitude from beneficiaries flooded social media on Saturday afternoon, from far and wide across the country, as over 300 000 people received their meals.
 In Joburg, 2 000 cups of soup were delivered from the Lerato Educational Centre in Jackson Park informal settlement, a SA Harvest-supported Rhema South beneficiary. Scott Headrick from Rhema South Family Church, which feeds between 400 to 800 children daily, commented, “Hearing the news that we were going to get between 2 000 and 2 500 soups to feed the Jackson community, we decided we wanted to bless the adults.
 We’ve been planted in this community, which is home to upwards of 6 000 adults, for 10 years. On Saturday, we gave between 800 and 1 000 children ice creams in the morning and asked them to call their parents to receive a cup of soup when it arrived in the afternoon.”

#67000litres for Mandela Day by numbers

 To contribute towards Chefs with Compassion’s ongoing campaign to provide meals to those in need, donate R10 per meal by going to HERE

About Chefs with Compassion

Chefs with Compassion is a registered Not for Profit company, founded in 2020 in response to the humanitarian crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is an initiative based on a collaboration between organisations and individuals whose greatest wish is to alleviate the hunger and suffering of South Africa, taking surplus rescued produce and connecting chefs, kitchens, beneficiaries and supporters in cities and towns around South Africa.

Chefs with Compassion’s founding partners are NOSH Food Rescue NPC (NOSH), the South African Chefs Association (SA Chefs), Slow Food International, the Slow Food Chefs Alliance SA, and Strategic Public Relations.

Long after the COVID-19 crisis ends, Chefs with Compassion will continue its vision of transforming surplus rescued produce into nourishing meals through the compassion of chefs. The long-term vision underpinning Chefs with Compassion is to streamline and entrench the model so that it runs post-Corona and inspires other industries to follow suit.


About SA Harvest

SA Harvest is creating a food rescue and distribution platform that will ultimately enable it to realise its mission to ensure that every South African is able to access adequate nutritious food on a daily basis. This platform is based on four pillars – food rescue, education, engagement and innovation.

SA Harvest believes that every South African has the right to sufficient, nutritious food – the foundation to living a dignified life. The right to food requires that food be available, accessible and adequate for everyone without discrimination.

Part of SA Harvest’s systems-thinking approach is the use of refrigerated vehicles which are crucial to the ability of delivering fresh, nutritious food. nutritious food in order for individuals to develop and grow to their full potential.

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