So Lentil as Anything, a Melbourne restaurant, is famous for its philosophy that diners only pay for whichever the amount they think the meal is worth. But it is much more than just a restaurant with unusual hype. By volunteering at Lentil as Anything, I discovered a much more meaningful side of this restaurant, and it truly touched my heart.
The kitchen at LTA was small and by the time I arrived, the chef and a number of volunteers had already begun all the prep work. I soon discovered that almost everyone there were volunteers. They came all parts of life – some were refugees, some were foreign students and some just came along for company. Everyone though seemed to enjoy food and good company. It wasn´t hard to engage in conversations and I felt right at home with most of them.
Back to food, LAA served lots of Indian style vegetarian curry. There were several pots of curry and dhal boiling on the stove when I arrived. I was asked by the chef to select ingredients from the cold room to cook something. And I ended up with a big tray of simple stir-fry noodle dish with lots of vegetables (and sweet soy sauce!). Other volunteers had their chances to cook, too. I tried this delicious authentic Papua curry which was cooked by a refugee the previous day. C., a lovely Australian lady, also served me her delicious rice pudding that perfumed with cardamom, raisin and almonds. The food contributed by volunteers made the menu much more colorful and exciting.
Nevertheless, I truly believe that LAA achieves much more than just food. It was such a down-to-earth place that everyone can enjoy each others´ company. I truly enjoyed engaging in conversations with people there, learning about their stories and struggles in life. In such respect, LAA has succeeded in creating a small environment to celebrate human spirits of sharing and loving.
I would be back to LAA for more volunteer work. Your help would be much appreciated, too. Perhaps one day some of us food bloggers can finally cook in one kitchen together for a good cause? It would be fun, I bet (*)