When the Kai Conscious Cafe started in April, it attracted a small crowd. A handful of people showed up to help cook and then eat food rescued by various businesses on the island from landfill. These days, the crowd regularly numbers over fifty, made up of residents, people spending a few months on the island, and some who are passing through for as little as a few days. Locals chat with Germans who chat with Argentinians who chat with Israelis who chat with Americans; people from various countries and cultures can talk and share over a beautiful meal. After the meal has been eaten it’s not uncommon for guitars and ukuleles to appear.

Each week those in the kitchen are faced with a mystery basket of ingredients. One week we had so much asparagus that it was present in almost each one of the many dishes made for the crowd of around sixty. We had asparagus soup, asparagus frittata, roasted asparagus, pasta carbonara with asparagus, and even raw asparagus for people to munch on. Another week a group of students visiting Waiheke from Malaysia came to join us, and they cooked up a tasty and spicy Malaysian fried rice. We’ve had boxes full of capsicums, a whole hand of bananas, some of the smallest (and cutest) potatoes we’ve ever seen, and greens picked directly from the community garden in Surfdale. Because the mix is different each week, our cooks have to get creative in the kitchen, coming up with ideas only moments before beginning to cook. Regardless, each week the food turns out delicious!

On Friday, 16/12/17, we are celebrating the last Kai Conscious Cafe meal of 2017 and the holiday times with a special meal, Kai Conscious Festive Dinner. Taking the place of the usual lunchtime meal, the Kai Conscious dinner will not only feature delicious food, camaraderie, and music, but also a Love Food Hate Waste quiz and the opportunity to win some great prizes. We’re hoping to make some special seasonal treats, keeping up with the festive spirit of the holiday times.

We can’t keep the Kai Conscious Cafe running and growing without your help. Businesses including Countdown, Foursquare, Francos, Sophia’s Gourmet Food, The Organic Shop, and the Island Grocer donate regularly, but we need all the help we can get, especially at for this special meal. We can take any fruits and veggies, cans, dairy products, grains, and even leftovers; all foodstuffs other than meat. All food donations are protected under the ‘good Samaritan’ clause of the Food Act 2014, releasing liability for the original owners. You can bring your donations to the Waiheke Sustainability Centre on Mako Street, or we can pick up directly. If you have any donations (or questions), send us a message on Facebook at Kai Conscious or The Waiheke Sustainability Centre, or call us at the office at 372 2915.

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