A new community interest initiative has been launched to provide Truro people with a place to meet, eat and learn new skills. 

The first Truro Nourish Hub community kitchen recently took place at Truro Cathedral café, with the aim of showing participants how to cook tasty, healthy, low-cost food at home. 

The idea was driven by Clinton Sealy, Truro City councillor for Moresk and Trevhaverne, in response to the food banks that have grown exponentially out of the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis. 

Clinton had identified a need: while foodbanks and other organisations were providing food, “a lot of people didn’t know how to cook nutritious meals with what they were given – they had never been taught those skills”. 

Similarly, they had not learned the art of reheating, repurposing or batch-cooking and freezing, so “if a meal wasn’t finished, they might throw it away rather than keep it for the next day”. 

And so Truro Nourish Hub was devised “to take the fear out of cooking”. 

The launch of the new  Truro Nourish Hub
The launch of the new Truro Nourish Hub (Contributed)

It found a home in the cathedral café, and professional chefs have been invited each month to share knowledge and experience, from preparation skills to how to use every part of an ingredient, and simple recipes you can try at home.  

The sessions are “non-political, non-religious and non-judgmental”, and open to everyone.  “We’re not homing in on any one part of society,” said organiser Tom Elliott, “and we’re not aiming to turn everyone into Masterchef. My father is 85, and after my mum passed away he didn’t know what to do in the kitchen.” 

Indeed, these sessions are often as much about companionship as cookery. They are also a one-stop shop for vital information, including the rising cost of utilities with Cornwall Energy Partnership, while mental health charities Virginia’s Voice and Man Down were present to discuss the pressures of the current situation. 

In Cornish Pasty Week, guest chef Dave McCormick from The Rollin Rock gave a step-by-step demonstration how to make a pasty. An element of friendly competition ensued. 

“It was a bit of fun to see what people came up with,” said Dave. “A lot of people had eaten plenty of pasties but never made one.”

One of the dishes people learned to cook at the Truro Nourish Hub
One of the dishes people learned to cook at the Truro Nourish Hub (Contributed)

Ingredients were provided by Aldi and used to show how a meal needn’t cost as much as you think. 

“We used beef skirt, which is a cheap cut of meat,” Dave explained. “We looked at ingredients and pricing – swede/turnip, potatoes, onion and a bit of butter, and shop-bought pastry for ease – it cost £1 and made two pasties. Each pasty cost about 60p to make, compared with the price of buying it from a shop.” 

Dave currently works freelance in restaurants, and over the summer travels between festivals such as Boardmasters and Rock Oyster Festival. “I left home at the age of 14, and had some difficult times, so I know how it is to be struggling and to have to make something out of nothing,” he said. “It’s nice to be in a situation now where I can give some support to others.”

The next Truro Nourish Hub event is planned for March 27, with guest chef to be confirmed. It’s free and there’s no need to book. Visit www.truronourishhub.co.uk

People sampling some of the dishes at the Truro Nourish Hub
People sampling some of the dishes at the Truro Nourish Hub (Contributed)