Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts
1545. Lewis MacLachlan
Lewis MacLachlan, from Edinburgh, is a chef who set up ‘Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts’ to turn surplus restaurant ingredients into healthy meals for local care homes and vulnerable families in response to COVID-19.
Lewis and his team of professional chefs are currently supplying over 2,500 meals per day, producing packs including breakfast, lunch, dinner and treats, as well as running two daily hot food services from Leith Theatre, known as ‘Lunchtime on Leith’ and ‘Teatime at the Theatre.’ In total, more than 100 tonnes of food has been saved from landfill and turned into over 350,000 meals since April 2020.
In a personal letter to Lewis, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“By setting up Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts, you have salvaged food destined for waste and provided thousands of meals to some of the most vulnerable communities in Edinburgh.
“Alongside your team of chefs, you are providing an astonishing 2,500 meals a day. To do this at the same time as completing your studies is a fantastic achievement.”
“At a time when so many are doing so much good it’s great for the work of Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts’ volunteers to be noted as a ‘Point of Light’. It’s fitting how poignant the title is as I believe we have been a source of strength and warmth for both our clients, volunteers and those who’ve taken comfort in knowing that we are trying to nudge the baseline of society in a better direction.
“The award’s acknowledgement of this work can only strengthen the argument that we have very serious issues in our communities around access to food and face up to the fact the current system does not defend everyone’s right to food. As an organisation our goal is redundancy or nationalisation so I ask anyone in a position to help us secure our nations’ right to food to reach out and work with us.”
Pictured below: Volunteers at Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts in action