A new project launched by a pair of cooking teachers aims to bring the community in Hastings together over great food.
Kate Rintoul, 32, and Savannah Karr, 36, are preparing to launch Home Ground Kitchen in the basement of Rock House in Cambridge Road, Hastings.
The space, which will have a canteen serving lunch everyday from midday to 3pm and a commercial kitchen, will be used to host cooking classes, training sessions and events like parties and alternative weddings.
Activities planned over the coming months including a cooking skill-share with refugees, classes for local children and supper clubs.
Kate said: “It’s all about educating people about food and bringing people together through food.”
Both Kate and Savannah are already well-known in the catering scene in Hastings and each has 15 years of experience in the industry behind them.
Kate left home at 17 without knowing how to cook, only to bake.
Teaching herself to cook made her fall in love with the practice and she has spent the last few years teaching others in schools and the community through her project Make Food UK.
Both Kate and Savannah, whose passion for food stems from her childhood in South Africa and time spent cooking in South India, are passionate about helping people to enjoy healthier diets on a budget – with Savannah teaching classes on this topic through the project Bags of Taste.
Kate said some of the barriers facing people on lower incomes included a lack of equipment – with some having just a small hob or a microwave to cook on – as well as finances.
She said: “People think ready-meals are cheaper, but working with fresh ingredients doesn’t have to be expensive.
“People become really reliant on convenience – and that’s true across the spectrum.”
Kate said Hastings was steadily growing a reputation for its food.
“There’s an appetite for it, people are ready for some really good food in the town,” she said.
She said she hoped Home Ground Kitchen would help raise standards and give young people who find themselves working in the industry more confidence and pride in what they do.
The pair are crowdfunding for the final funds to make sure the space can open as planned on Monday, July 22.
The project faced a major setback after funding promised by the EU was halted due to uncertainty over Brexit following the March deadline.
Kate said: “It’s a been a bit of a knock. It’s been a shame but we still want to get going.”