I chatted with Ben Tish the renowned chef, educator and award winning cookbook author about his charity work with Stepney City Farm. Located in Tower Hamlets it is a 3 acre working farm, which over 5000 children visit each year.
You are helping Stepney City Farm during this lockdown by cooking dishes for customers to order and collect. How did you choose the dishes to make and will they vary from week to week? 
They are dishes i like to cook and are inspired by my latest book MOORISH. ready to reheat at home too. yes ill be doing it for three weeks and the dishes will change- always a vegan dish in there and using some produce from the farm.

How does the cook and collect work? Are there limited amounts of food?
It’s all through the farms website and yes limited amounts about 60 dishes

Are you preparing all the food yourself or is it a team effort?  
I’m cooking the majority of it from my house/garden – its very near the farm and the  its getting packaged and finished on site
Tell me about the ingredients you are using from the farm and the people that grown them. Do you get involved in this aspect of the farm? 
I’im not involved with that side but the farm grows lots of things – its a very much a working farm. lots of herbs, chards and lettuces, they make honey  and the animals are eventually slaughtered and butchered. they also have allotment space for local residents to grow vegetables
The farm must be a fantastic asset to your local community, what good have you witnessed being derived from the farm?
It is and yes it has. Stepney and Tower Hamlets is a poor area/borough but incredibly diverse and with limited funds. The farm opens minds to the reality of a working natural space, environment, community, importance of eating well, living well and looking after our natural resources. Children who experience the farm may never have had had the opportunity to see live farm animals or under stand where produce really comes from and how its grown. A strong sense of community and doing good to it is the overarching message from the farm
How can others support the farm?
Take a visit down there when they are able and see how inspiring it is. you can support in many ways from volunteering to donations
The farm has an “Allotment Cafe” that will be open after lockdown. Will you be contributing recipes for them or giving any classes?
I will always be available and around to support in any capacity. perhaps a guest chef lunch or supper club
You contribute a great deal to society through your charitable work and education – what can be done to encourage other chefs to follow your example?
Chefs are generally good at giving back but always more can be done. It starts with inspiring your team and younger chefs in the industry. My team are very interested in getting involved with these things because I do. Yhey will then go on to inspire their own teams. Eduction and teaching is beneficial for our industry – chefs should see that and see the long term benefits.
Bens latest book Moorish, with Mediterranean recipes is superb and available from Amazon.
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