I began volunteering with GYCT to gain experience in catering, hoping to learn new skills and techniques in the kitchen ...
Josh Chaplin-Madden volunteers as a chef at the Priory Centre's Community Lunch. The more formal sit-down lunch takes place on a Monday and Friday but, due to popular demand, it has now grown to include the informal Midweek Tasty Bites which takes place on a Wednesday in the Priory Cafe.
The Community Lunch menu ranges from traditional old classics, such as toad-in-the-hole, pies and pasta dishes to the adventurous and even exotic, to give customers the chance to try new dishes and find new recipes that they can take home. Sometimes the lunches are themed, based on calendar events, such as St George's Day, Thanksgiving or Burn's Night. Meanwhile, Wednesday's 'Tasty Bites' takes the form of a 'pop-up' cafe, serving old favourites such as filled jacket potatoes, soups and couscous pizzas.
This wide ranging menu provides students and volunteers with a thorough grounding in catering, preparing starters, mains and desserts, as well as serving guests, both at the table and from the servery. The opportunity attracts volunteers of all ages, who may be looking to gain catering experience, or who simply enjoy the social side of working alongside others in the community kitchen. John McDonald, who runs the Community Lunch, is experienced in catering, hospitality and hotel management. He is also qualified to teach and assess NVQ Levels 1, 2 & 3 in the Food and Drink disciplines and in the assessment of Levels 1 & 2 Prepare, Cook and Serve Food.
Josh came to GYCT with qualifications in Hospitality & Catering, and Food Safety & Awareness. Through volunteering he hoped to gain
further experience as a chef, learning new skills and techniques in the kitchen.
"What I didn’t expect, however", he says, "was to make such good friendships. Everyone is so friendly."
"I have been to a lot of places", he adds, "but this is probably the best place I’ve worked at. I have started to feel much happier since I began volunteering here and I’m really enjoying the cooking".
Josh would definitely recommend volunteering with GYCT, assuring anyone who is considering applying that .. "You won’t regret it!"
We currently don't have any vacancies for a Community Lunch Cook, but it is worth registering your interest with the Volunteering Coordinator in the event that an opportunity arises in the future.
If you would like to see our full list of opportunities visit our Current Opportunities page.
Or, if you prefer, you can call our Volunteering Coordinator, Joleen Azevedo, for a chat:
T: 01493 743014 E: email@example.com