Meet Soulkitchen’s Louise

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Congratulations to our partner Soulkitchen for their latest “gig” with the More Than A Roof Housing Society.

For a little more than two months now Hännes and Louise Tischhauser, the bright minds behind Soulkitchen, have been cooking for the many residents at More Than A Roof facilities.

Whipping up delicious meals at the housing society’s new community kitchen, Hännes and Louise have been putting the years of experience they’ve gathered running a soup kitchen in Perth, Australia to good use.

We sat down with Louise and she gave us a glimpse behind the scenes of Soulkitchen’s latest project, along with her vision of the ideal food program.

Planted: How does a typical dinner for More Than A Roof’s residents look like?

Louise: It’s usually about a hundred people per sitting and Hännes goes in in the afternoon, and one of the first things he does is he finds residents and tries to motivate them to help him with the cooking. It’s really all about that morphing of “them and us”. We want to build relationships between the people we serve and us.

P: What’s a typical dish you serve at one of these community meals?

L: Hännes is famous for soups, really, really nice soups. You can make a beautiful, healthy, wonderful soup for someone, and who doesn’t like that? We try to make our food healthy, but also make it an enjoyable experience, so if there’s a bit of extra cream in a meal, you know, that’s okay [laughs]. We aim for the happy medium.

P: What is your role at these dinners?

L: I’m not much in the kitchen. I really spend most of my time sitting with people and talking to them, because I think this is really what this is all about.

You know, when I went to the More Than A Roof dinner a couple of nights ago, a woman I talked to the last time just tapped me on the shoulder, and we just caught up, and I thought “that’s what I want”. Get to know the tenants and know where they’re at and gain their trust.

I think that’s when you build a community, when you care about people’s families and what is going in their life, you develop relationships and friendships. What we want to accomplish is get away from that model where people just stand in a line and are handed out food, and there is no personal interaction at all.

P: Where would you like to see Soulkitchen’s work go in the future?

L: We cook for all the More Than A Roof residents, and for the Vogue House Dinners, and we are trying to mentor young people in what we’re doing, so that if we can’t do this anymore, they can take over. We would love to expand and cook for even more programs, maybe at this kitchen or somewhere else.

I think our bigger picture vision is that at some point in the future, we are able to host dinners everybody can take part in. It doesn’t matter who you are and what your background is, whether you live in the Downtown Eastside, or somewhere else in Vancouver, you know, you might be poor, or middle-class, it doesn’t matter. I think that would really break down a lot of barriers.

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