Drill Hall Cook School
The Drill Hall Cook School began in 2020 with Scottish Government funding to create a programme of cooking and baking workshops and community events to run throughout the year. It was a chance for people of all ages and skill levels to get involved, and learn how to cook and bake for practical purposes, or just for fun.
Like with many things in 2020 we had to change our plans.
Just after the official launch with World Kitchen in Leith in March of that year Scotland went into lockdown and Out of the Blue temporarily closed its six buildings across Edinburgh. In April 2020 we re-opened our kitchen to begin a partnership with the SCRAN Academy to provide free healthy meals to vulnerable people and those who were self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic. By opening up the Drill Hall Cafe kitchen for meal preparation we enabled the extension of the SCRAN Academy’s project to the whole of Leith. By the end of August 2020 the Out of the Blue Drill Hall cafe team were a key part of a team of chefs and volunteers who delivered 115,000 meals to vulnerable people across North Edinburgh.
As well as making meals for distribution we used the time that the kitchen was closed to the public to develop our preserving skills and started to make jams, pickles and chutneys with food from Fareshare. With the help of volunteers we also started a little lockdown kitchen garden at our Meanwhile site just off Leith Walk.
Now you will find our lovely preserves on sale in the Drill Hall Cafe and served with your toast or inside your slice of Victoria Sponge. So far we have diverted almost half a ton of potential food waste from the bin.
We still welcome volunteers and small community groups who would like to learn some traditional preserving techniques or who could benefit from the use of our kitchen and equipment.
Our revised project aims to make a difference to the amount of food that perishes by using traditional methods of preserving rescued food and to make quality products for the retail market. Our aim is to create a new enterprise which makes a surplus, and develop a sustainable model for continuing the project in the long term. We aim to share that product with other charities who are working to support people in food poverty.