Volunteering at “Lentil as Anything”

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.

Volunteering @ Letil As Anything Restaurant
On a cold Melbourne winter day, Mr. B and I hopped down to Abbotsford area for one day volunteer work at Lentil as Anything (LAA). We arrived, didn´t know what to expect. But as soon as we got there, we got allocated the work based on our preference. I loved cooking so to the kitchen I went. Mr. B opted to learn some front of house tricks and became the restaurant waiter for the day.

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 (*)

Purple Shade
(*) Last weekend i joined a food bloggers’ meeting at LAA. It was fun meeting a lot of bloggers there :).

23 Responses to Volunteering at “Lentil as Anything”

  1. Cindy says:

    It was lovely to meet you too, Anh!

  2. Agnes says:

    What a great idea! :) It was lovely to meet you and Mr B. in the weekend.

  3. Manggy says:

    That is bizarre and wonderful at the same time! Awesome! Nice pics, Anh :) And it sounded like a lot of fun too :)

  4. Lucy says:

    Great idea. Consider that’s a big Yes from me, too, Anh! I’m so pleased we got to meet, finally. I feel as though I’ve ‘known’ you for a long time.

  5. Ross Hill says:

    Hi there, I just thought you might be interested in meeting restauranteur Paul Mathis at The Hive next week – details at http://www.thehive.org.au.

  6. indosungod says:

    I have been reading a lot about the volunteer/paying restaurants. Its is indeed a great concept. Nice to read about your experience.

  7. Precious Moments says:

    this is a truly meaningful day for you and I support the idea of bloggers coming together to cook for a cause. Brilliant!

  8. Callipygia says:

    What a great concept, talk about really fostering community and breaking down (kitchen) walls. I’ll bet the food is wonderful!

  9. Anh says:

    Cindy, nice to meet you and M., too!

  10. Johanna says:

    Nice idea Anh – it was lovely to meet you and hear that you and Mr B do volunteer work at LAA – and your photos are great

  11. Cookie baker Lynn says:

    That sounds like a really different and fun way to spend a day. I’m sure you would meet a lot of truly interesting people.

  12. Ran says:

    Do you do this regularly Anh? It sounds like a great idea. I volunteer on a Melbourne Soup Van but a lot of the food is donated and includes pies and sausage rolls, which upsets me a little as these people need helathy food, not junk!

  13. tigerfish says:

    Looks like you are having a fun and fulfilling time. Glad to hear that!

  14. Dhanggit says:

    that’s an awesome idea! I could probably organize one here in France!!!

  15. Kate / Kajal says:

    Hello Anh , i love that beautiful flower photo … but how sad i cannot meet you …unless ofcourse you pla on doing some fun blog event here in west Africa !

  16. Cynthia says:

    Sounds like you had a wonderful experience.

  17. Y says:

    Sounds like a great idea!

  18. Anh says:

    johanna, I think it’s a great chance for us to get together!

  19. ChichaJo says:

    What a lovely experience! I would love to volunteer at a place like that if there were any around here :)

  20. linda says:

    What a wonderful concept, too bad I live too far away!

  21. Nora B. says:

    This volunteering activity sounds like a lot of fun. I used to do more volunteer work back in Singapore. I really should get back into it more now that my life is settling down a bit more here.

  22. Márcia Taube says:

    Your blog is so Nice, very interesting experience!

  23. Another Outspoken Female says:

    That’s a belated yes from me too on the volunteering front. What a great fun idea – food bloggers cooking together for LAA.

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