Calais – Day Three

I am a couple of days late in rounding off my fleeting Calais trip for you – apologies! I was rather too exhausted on Saturday evening plus incredibly frustrated at how slow the internet was in the hostel, and my plan of writing while I was on the ferry was foiled by… sleep.

Day Three followed much the same pattern as the previous two; preparing salad to be taken out to the camp along with the curry and rice, then preparing vegetables for the next day. I also spent time slicing bread to be dipped in the curry – ten big sacks in all if I remember correctly (although not on my own of course!).


The Refugee Community Kitchen in Calais benefit from the recent change in French law which requires all large food retailers to give their surplus fresh food to charity. Feeding approximately 2500 people a day means that bread and vegetables which the supermarkets won’t sell because it wouldn’t last long enough in peoples fridges can be used straight away to feed some very hungry people. Other ingredients are either donated or purchased in bulk with donated money.


As promised, I did manage to leave the vegetable prep area for a short while on Saturday to talk to the cooks and chef about what they were making. I will share a curry recipe with you soon, but I want to have a go at scaling it down first because I don’t think that you will need to feed quite so many people as we were feeding in Calais!


Over and out!


Calais – Day Two

… today I have mostly been crying oniony tears…

Lots of chopping and peeling again today – carrots, onions, potatoes, chicory, lettuce and MUCH garlic. Lesson of the day – many hands make light work! The garlic took at least five people most of the afternoon. It’s a good job that there are lots of jobs to be done, so that we can swap around when either our minds or our bodies have had enough of being in one place. 

I expect that you are wondering what is done with all these vegetables?  Each day some variation on vegetable curry, rice and salad is made for thousands of people – all in one pretty small (all things considered) kitchen. The volunteers also get the same for their lunch so I have been able to sample it for the last couple of days – delicious and both days rather different. The kitchen depends on donations of food, so the recipe of the day really depends on what is to hand.

I had a chat with the head chef this afternoon, and we have arranged to spend a few minutes together tomorrow putting down on paper a typical ‘Calais Kitchen’ curry recipe to share with you. 

Until then it’s rest time for me. 

Over and out! 


p.s. follow the kitchen on Twitter @RefugeeCKitchen

Calais – Day One

Today I have mostly been peeling carrots and garlic…

This post is a bit of a departure from the usual here at Kitty’s Storecupboard; still food related but written from a kitchen in Calais, France where I am helping to feed the thousands of migrants camped out at the Calais ‘Jungle’. I have brought three people with me – my friend Sarah and two lovely ladies from Stroud called Claudia and Frances who have been asked to spend a few days at the youth centre in the Jungle teaching circus skills to some rather traumatised and bored young people.

Sarah and I are based at the warehouse where lots of hard work goes on behind the scenes – sorting dontations of food and clothes, cooking hot food to be served at the camps, packing bags of dry food to distribute (a bit like Foodbank bags). 


I have been helping in the kitchens this morning – although most of my vegetable peeling was outside, which was nice given the weather. I have also unloaded the donations from the lovely people of Stroud – food, vitimins and first-aid supplies for the women and childrens centre and a computer for the school.

Sarah’s job this morning was in a production line packing the food bags to be distributed and Claudia and Frances were sorting tents in the warehouse. I have now dropped Claudia and Frances off are  at the youth centre so that they can get started with their circus skills workshop.

Next  – to head to a supermarket and spend the cash given to me by the wonderful Rasmachaz shop, the congregtion of Trinity Church Stroud, and friends and neighbours who were really keen to give knowing that it will go to directly stock the rather empty warehouse. I will be much happier when I have parted with the cash, I don’t like walking around with lots of Euros!


We didn’t need to go shopping in the end – the people of Stroud were so generous that the lady in charge of stocking the warehouse decided that it would be better spent on bulk buying a pallet-load of food, such as milk or tinned tomatoes. I will let you know exactly what it was spent on later in the week.

I have mostly carried on with vegetable preparation and general dogs-body in the kitchen. Sarah carried on with packing food for distribution; they packed 5000 bags – so literally feeding the 5000! Claudia and Frances survived their trip into the Jungle – but I think it is up to them to tell there own story. 

That’s all for now – time for a well earned sleep. 


P.s – I do have a few photos  to add,  but the internet at the hostel is being so slow that I can’t upload them. I will add them another time.