Neil Perry, Maggie Beer, Marco Pierre White and more: Culinary stars line up in famine-fighting cookbook
World Vision’s ‘Hunger Bites’ serves up $14 family feeds from Australia’s chef-y best
Australia’s gastronomic who’s who have joined forces with World Vision to create its first famine-fighting cookbook, Hunger Bites, dishing up family feeds on a shoestring.
The aid organisation launches the free eBook today with 17 of Australia’s favourite chefs and cooks, to shine a light on the 41 million people driven to starvation by the pandemic.
Hunger Bites aims to help Australians put affordable meals on their own tables – and at the same time think about putting meals on the tables of others in need.
The star-studded culinary line-up who have contributed recipes includes Neil Perry, Marco Pierre White and Maggie Beer, Luke Mangan, Stephanie Alexander, Ed Halmagyi, Adam D’Sylva, Alice Zaslavsky, Darren Purchese, Luke Nguyen. Former youth pastor and MasterChef 2021 champ Justin Narayan is also involved in the project, as just one of several undertakings by the young chef has taken on to make the most of his new profile. Narayan recently told Eternity that he loves “working with an organisation that is making a difference on the ground and doing something practical”.
Hunger Bites is part of World Vision’s Child Hunger campaign. It has two long-term World Vision sponsors – who also happen to be some of Australians’ favourite foodies – as its spokespeople.
Long-time World Vision child sponsor Maggie Beer said she felt moved to join the campaign and help raise awareness of the child hunger crisis.
“We are indeed the lucky country and are blessed with so many fresh, wonderful ingredients in Australia,” Beer said. “It saddens me to know that in some countries, families can’t afford even basic food items such as corn or rice. No child should ever go hungry.”
“We have an opportunity to be shining lights…” – Neil Perry
Multi award-winning chef Neil Perry, who recently set up community meal program Hope Delivery, said he jumped on board as another way to give back.
“We are in an incredibly privileged position to work with the best produce in the country, but there are so many people who struggle day to day just to put food on the table,” said Perry. “I’ve always felt a responsibility to give back. That’s one of the reasons I first sponsored a child with World Vision many years ago.”
Perry acknowledged that it was challenging to draw Australians’ attention to global issues during a pandemic, when they were grappling with their own struggles, such as lockdowns and job losses.
“We’ve got our own problems in Australia, so it’s more difficult to generate the awareness that there are places in the world that really need a helping hand from countries like ours,” he said.
“We are feeding some people in Australia because they can’t feed themselves with Hope Delivery – but the reality is there are many people here who can afford to do something, whether sponsoring a child, or donating, or talking to others about the reality of famine overseas.
“I always call for us to be more politically active around the world and set an example, whether it’s on sustainability or climate change or famine. We have an opportunity to be shining lights… and I think we need to shout out to Australians to do what they can.”
World Vision CEO Daniel Wordsworth said he was overwhelmed by the wave of support from such a star-studded line-up, and hoped the book would find a place in kitchens across Australia.
“My heartfelt thanks go to these generous contributors for sharing our vision for a cookbook to support our fellow human beings in a time of great need,” he said.
“When you put Hunger Bites to use, you not only put food on your own table – you help World Vision put meals on the tables of those who need them most. You make the world a better place.”
He said the cookbook was peppered with digestible facts about the global hunger crisis, and hoped families would use it as a resource to talk about the issue – and be motivated to act.
A deadly mix of conflict, climate change and COVID-19 are pushing communities towards the biggest hunger crisis in decades, with Afghanistan and East Africa the hardest hit. Young people are selling their bodies, while parents are marrying daughters off early or sending children out to work. World Vision staff have reported that some people are subsisting on little more than herbs, roots and rodents they have foraged or hunted, or are going hungry for days.
“Having enough to eat is something every child should be able to take for granted,” Wordsworth said.
“Australians would agree that no Mum or Dad should go through the pain of having their child go to bed hungry – or get too weak to play. Right now, too many parents and caregivers are trying to provide food while suffering extreme hunger themselves. We want this book to provide some food for thought about how everyday Australians can help to avert this crisis. If we only act once famine is declared, it is too late – people are already dying.”
To download a copy of Hunger Bites, and find out how you can support World Vision’s Child Hunger Appeal, go to www.worldvision.com.au/hungerbites