RELATED: Big Give buoyant with rising support
The Big Give is an event supporting central Victorian community groups. The Bendigo Advertiser will be profiling several of the registered campaigns each week until the initiative ends with a 24-hour giving day on September 1.
Bendigo Senior Secondary College is seeking to raise $15,000 for a program run by an internationally-acclaimed chef, which aims to change lives through the power of food.
Rob Rees made a name for himself in the United Kingdom, where he was immersed in projects intended to improve food culture.
Kitchen Challenge was one such project, which used experiences in the hospitality industry to encourage people to find solutions to problems they might be facing.
The BSSC Kitchen Challenge will run over eight weeks, ending with participants catering for an invitation-only dinner for the program’s supporters and Bendigo’s culinary elite.
According to the cause’s Big Give campaign page, 10 students from “varied social and ethnic backgrounds” will be selected to undertake the challenge.
The participants will work alongside the college’s VET Hospitality students and with support from Masons of Bendigo.
Although Kitchen Challenge will give participants access to the best local producers, ingredients, hospitality educators and mentors available, Mr Rees said the aim was not to turn out chefs.
“Kitchen Challenge is a leadership program,” he said.
He said the program would be designed to help participants develop skills necessary in many aspects of their lives, such as emotional resilience.
Mr Rees said the participants might find themselves in a confronting situation such as visiting an abattoir.
Yes, it would teach them about meat production, but Mr Rees said there was more to it.
“It’s about how they can generally cope with that,” he said.
Participants will bring to the kitchen their own challenges, which the program aims to help them address.
“Many students at Bendigo Senior Secondary College face challenges in their lives that can make it hard for them to engage in their studies or be the very best they can be,” the Big Give campaign page states.
“For some, it’s depression or anxiety, for newly arrived refugees it can be barriers of language or trauma, for others it can be social disadvantage or financial stresses.”
Mr Rees said the Big Give was an optimal platform to raise money and awareness of the program, because participants would know how invested the community was in fostering their growth.
He hoped the program would empower them with the pathways and hunger to pursue further education and employment opportunities.