CHEFS2TWO chefs from 16 Air Assault Brigade have been doing their bit for those less well-off by cooking a weekly dinner for 20 residents of a local shelter.

The voluntary project, which has been running for a year, has also seen the chefs re-organise Colchester Night Centre’s kitchen and stock keeping.

Corporal Sam Coote and Lance Corporal Callum McMullan have been cooking up dishes such as chicken soup, spaghetti bolognese and chocolate sponge and custard.

Cpl Coote, 24, said: “I look forward to coming down to the Night Shelter when it’s my turn. It’s an easy way to use our skills as chefs to give something back to the community.

“We visit a few days before to agree a menu and then come down and cook. Everyone enjoys the food, it’s a friendly place and everyone helps with the washing up afterwards!”

LCpl McMullan, 23, added: “Day to day as an Army chef we’re cooking in the messes on camp and preparing to cook out in the field on exercises, so this gives us a chance to do something different with our skills.

“I really enjoy preparing a home-cooked meal for people who are not as fortunate as I am. The residents really appreciate our cooking and it’s good to know that you’re helping people.”

Not just cooking

Alastair Leighton, Colchester Night Shelter Resettlement and Welfare Worker, said: “The Army chefs have been a real enhancement to the centre and the network of volunteers who support us.

“But it’s not just cooking; the soldiers have really helped professionalise our kitchen by advising us with stock keeping, menu planning and chemical storage.”

Night Shelter resident Levi Jones added: “The Night Shelter has been very important to me. I was homeless for six weeks and with their help I’m sorting myself out. It’s great having the soldiers come in to cook for us, they’re friendly and the dinners are really nice.”

Want to know more?

Find out more about Colchester Night Shelter at www.colchesternightshelter.com

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