What goes into a soup kitchen meal?

Winter is here – a time when many South African families don’t have a warm meal to look forward to. With that in mind, together with the Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund, over 50 local chefs and their teams have sharpened their knives and donned their aprons to provide for those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus far they’ve been able to distribute over 60,000 bowls of nutrient-rich food to old age homes, family homes, informal settlement soup kitchens, NGOs such as Reclaim the City and Ladles of Love, and various communities and churches all around South Africa.

With the task of preparing meals for varied groups of people – each with their own nutritious needs and dietary allowances, not to mention preferences – those in the kitchen have found themselves with a unique challenge. We found out what they’re cooking up and what the response has been.


Bertus Basson shared his story with us: “We live in a community called Jamestown outside of Stellenbosch. Overture started cooking soup for an informal settlement behind Jamestown called Mountainview a few years ago. We used to deliver soup and bread every Friday with the help of community volunteers. During lockdown, myself and [my wife] Mareli started soup production from home. It quickly outgrew our home capacity and we moved the operation to Eike with a few volunteers. At one stage Eike was not a beautiful restaurant but actually a big soup production facility!” he says. “We have decided to focus on soup because we can prepare a lot more with limited hands and space. The soup we cook contains a variety of fresh vegetables and pulses. We use vegetable stock and curry to flavour the soup and we thicken the soup with grated potato. We like to add pasta to the soup. For many people, a cup of soup will be the only meal they have for a day, therefore it has to be nutrient-rich and delicious. The Eat Out Relief Fund donation helped to keep our pots boiling during this difficult time.”

“I love my new community! They are so grateful for the small assistance I offer,” says Sonja Edridge, of Claremont’s The Larder, whose team is feeding the Lavender Hill community in Cape Town. “They see my car drive in every day and follow the car with smiles and waves, it’s so lovely! We focus on a thick vegetable-rich soup [made with vegetables] from Umthunzi farming community. The veggies are all organic and there is barely any time wasted between soil to pot, so they are jam-packed with nutrients. We combine the freshness of the veg with immune-boosting spices like turmeric and garlic. Lots of chilli in there too, as chilli is heavy on antioxidants, which also makes it immune-boosting. We add plenty of carbohydrates for warmth and comfort too, whether potatoes or pasta. Our protein element is a mixture of Elgin free-range chicken stock, lentils or soy.”


Sergio Luiz from Pie in the Sky Bakery his team has been making bread rolls for various organisations that serve soup or meal packs. “To date we have done just over 80 000 rolls since April and hope to do more! The bread rolls we do are made using fortified bread flour, which has added vitamins and minerals and is packed with energy. We do not use any harmful preservatives and additives.”


De Oude Kraal is feeding families in Bloemfontein. “We are providing wholesome meals filled with meat and fresh vegetables,” says owner Marie Lombard. “We provide a breakfast varying between oats; eggs (from our own chickens!) with toast; maize pap with milk from our cows; and coffee or tea. Meals include chicken, rice, pumpkin and an orange; mutton from the farm, maize pap, spinach and a banana; venison pie with green beans and an apple; vetkoek with mince cooked with carrots and onion, and served with a pear; and chicken pasta with peas and carrots.”

Here’s to 60,000 more.

About the Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund
COVID-19 has left restaurant kitchens empty and created more and more hungry South Africans. The Fund offers financial support to restaurants that have reopened their kitchens to create food for the needy in their communities. This way it does two things – help feed the vulnerable, while also supporting the industry economically. The fund is administered by Community Chest (an NPO and PBO) and donations are tax-deductible. Eat Out receives no commercial benefit – Eat Out and New Media are donating time, the team, brand, running costs and resources to this initiative at no cost so that all money donated can go directly to qualifying restaurants.

ALSO READ: Chef Bertus Basson shares what it takes to set up a feeding scheme

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