Tallaght chef recognised as 'ordinary hero' in EU-wide campaign

By Mary Dennehy

A TALLAGHT chef who swapped five-star kitchens for feeding individuals and families living in supported accommodation has been branded an ‘ordinary hero’ in an EU-wide campaign.

Originally from Old Bawn and now living in Bancroft, Trevor Kearns is among seven people from Ireland recognised in the EU Together We Protect campaign.

Trevor Kearns 1 1

Trevor is pictured with his daughter as part of a scone making competition back in 2015

This initiative celebrates the ‘chain of ordinary’ heroes from all EU countries who work together every day to protect EU citizens and their environment, safety, health and society.

A father-of-three, Trevor worked in a number of high-end Dublin hotels, such as The Westbury, The Clarence and Carlton House, before moving to Sophia Housing Association 12 years ago – bringing with him a passion for freshly prepared, varied, healthy meals.

Sophia Housing provides supported housing for people as they emerge from homelessness, with Trevor based at the association’s café on Cork Street, Dublin city centre.

Speaking with The Echo, Trevor said that 80 per cent of the food he uses annually in the preparation of fresh and nutritious daily meals for residents comes through Tallaght-based social enterprise, FoodCloud.

FoodCloud, a partner organisation of the EU’s Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), connects businesses that have perfectly good, surplus food with charities in need.

 “We get everything really . . . fresh veg, meat, frozen products, the surplus can vary weekly”, Trevor told The Echo.

“It can be a bit like Ready, Steady, Cook, the surplus can be a mixed bag . . . but there’s huge variety in that mixed bag.

“We also get raw produce that we use on-site to make scones and fresh bread.”

He added: “Surplus food is not always about dates, it could simply be a packaging mistake or an incorrect label.

“There is a varied mix of reasons why food is surplus.”

Passionate about eradicating food poverty for Sophia residents while creating nutritious, healthy meals, Trevor also noted that a large volume of the food that his kitchen uses would be destined for landfill if not for FoodCloud.

Using FoodCloud has resulted in Sophia using fresh and raw produce for all of its meals, with a significant reduction in cost also facilitating the addition of more food options, such as providing meals to the crèche and after-school programme.

“Around 80 per cent of the food we use a year comes from FoodCloud”, Trevor said.

“The [surplus food deliveries] are done on a weight system, and surplus food, on average, has resulted in a 70 per cent cut, at least, [in our food bill] across the year. We’re not only saving on food but freeing up the budget to provide different services.”

He added: “I would encourage any other charities out there to get in touch with FoodCloud.”

According to FoodCloud, one in 10 people in Ireland experience food poverty, with one million tonnes of food thrown out by Irish consumers and businesses every year. For further information visit Food Cloud

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