We had the venue (thanks Reservoir Neighbourhood House for taking us on, and inviting us to use your cooking and eating area!) and we had the funding (Thanks Darebin Council for your Community Grant!): so we had the opportunity to test out the YamDaisy Cafe idea of making eating well easy.
Questions: Could we make delicious meals? Could we make eating well easier? Could we keep to the budget? How well could we avoid waste? Could we please a wide variety of people? How good was our menu? What could we find out to make us better in the future?
We wanted to provide delicious meals to the people who came to the Pop-Up Cafe, and we also wanted to answer all those questions. We asked people to book in for three meals and then take part in an interview afterwards. Thankyou to those wonderful people! We had room for around 40 (final numbers 46) and we were able to interview 26 people.
This is what we learnt:
Men, women, teenagers and children came to the Pop-Up Cafe. We had a wide variety of backgrounds and ages, But the biggest group were women, and the biggest age group were the over 60’s. Hooray over 60’s women! You won!
Many people let us know they had come because they wanted to help us with this project, and because they were interested to see how it would go. Thanks to the grant it was extremely low cost, and this made it easier for people to take part.
We received wonderful feedback with good constructive criticism, and the main message was that the Pop-Up Cafe was a lovely experience (average 8 out of 10 score) and that the food was 8 out of 10 too. Success!
For many of the people we interviewed, eating well is not always easy at their own home. This could be because of chronic illness or disability making cooking difficult, or lack of interest in food leading to unorganised eating. Poverty was the biggest factor for some. Many people talked about what a good thing it is to eat with the community, especially for people who are isolated in their lives.
We had the tricky balance of making delicious meals, that fit Australian Dietary Guidelines, on a very small budget. We managed this by careful menu planning and focusing on the everyday seasonal ingredients that were at their best (and cheapest!) at the time. This was also an opportunity to model good nutritious meals, portion size and health issues. We had such a great chef who was happy to discuss the menu, recipes, cooking techniques, health requirements as needed. It was clear that this was a really important part of the Pop-Up.
Our YamDaisy model translated well into practice! Our feedback was that YamDaisy could make eating well easier. We did keep to our budget! We learnt so much that will make our next venture even better: Yes! The most overwhelming feedback we got was that there should be more YamDaisy! More Pop-Up Cafes, Permanent Cafes! Takeaway! Lookout folks! We are planning more YamDaisy Cafe Pop-Ups next year! YamDaisy is on the way!
I am keeping this report as short as I can (there will be more thorough reports later), but I must thank everyone who made this such a great experience: and that means everyone involved. It was such a pleasure to see, and receive, such good will and care. It has been overwhelming.
Eric Forrest, our wonderful chef, has been consultant and mentor to YamDaisy and then was kind enough to take on the Pop-Up cafe. His experience, planning and oversight made everything work, and, ofcourse his wonderful cooking! From the 2 year old who called him the ‘dancing chef’, to the woman with serious health issues who let us know she could relax at the YamDaisy Cafe because she could have confidence in the chef, to the person who came two hours early to lunch just so she could watch the chef work, and the staff who shared their gratefulness for his care and confident instruction; it was clear that the chef was central to the success of the YamDaisy Cafe. Not only that, he is helping us with all the feedback and analysis ready for next time! Thanks Eric!
Angie and Poy have helped at every stage of the project from planning, right through to sorting everything out afterward! Angie, as coordinator of RNH put her experience, precious time, and staff at our disposal. Thanks to Angie and staff! RNH auspiced us! Poy is our Nutrition and Community Health mentor and consultant and has especially helped us with dietary issues, and our research to get the best feedback possible from the people who came to the Pop-Up Cafe.
Donna Carpenter: was involved in the project as Community Liaison Officer at RNH and ended up being our Maitre D’! A sure hand that made everything work. Many, many thanks.
A whole group of volunteers was involved with the planning of the Pop-Up Cafe. They sorted themselves into staff (thanks Corina, Pennie, and Rawinia), interviewers (thanks Jane, Michelle, Phil, and especially Marie-Louise who is also in the YamDaisy Steering group and made the tablecloths and aprons), and people who came to the cafe: Hooray!
A big thankyou to everyone who came to the cafe. and who gave us the much appreciated feedback that will make sure we head in the right direction next year.