For their dinners, OWee participants will eat at different societies this week. How do you cook for hundreds of people? Delta peeked inside the kitchen for the chef’s secret.
The wristband of the OWee shows you which society you eat dinner at. The societies have the same daily theme on their menus: Monday pasta, Tuesday Asian and Wednesday mashed potatoes with vegetables. On Thursday, the OWee participants can eat wherever they want and the societies get culinary freedom.
Sint Jansbrug has had the same cook for 25 years: ‘Kokkie’ Mirjam. During the OWee, she starts preparations at 13:00 with two members, slicing the first ingredients. At 18:00 she has to feed 300 OWee participants and 100 members of Sint Jansbrug. How do you make 400 meals in five hours? “Good planning,” says Mirjam. The rest of the year she cooks for Sint Jansbrug too. Dinner is available for EUR 4, five days a week.
At Laga they don’t cook for the 400 people. Laga orders the bami and nasi dishes from the Chinese restaurant. “We don’t have a big kitchen and we can only cook for a maximum of 250 people.” Julius van der Veldt, President of the OWee Commission of Laga, points to the – indeed fairly small – kitchen. “Normally a Commission cooks on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The chefs in the Commission pick the recipes and the helpers cut the vegetables. Sometimes 100 people attend these meals, and sometimes we are completely full with 250.”
Proteus-Eretes sees the dinner as a challenge. The 320 eaters get a spring roll, ‘hangover noodles’ from Jamie Oliver and a home-made brownie as a finishing touch. Lisanne and Frank, the cooks of the day, started at 09:00 with the groceries. “Usually we cook for 150 people and we start at 15:00,” says Frank. “I think it’s important to have enough food, food that tastes good and that is finished on time. We can only do this by working hard.”
On the opposite side of the canal, the Delftsche Zwervers are enjoying their Indonesian buffet. On the menu is Rendang (Indonesian stew), Sambal Telor (eggs with sambal) and a lot of different vegetables. “It was an enormous amount of work: we started on Monday at 12:00 with the groceries for Tuesday’s meal,” says Rosanne, who made the complete buffet with two other members. “The pan of beef stew was on the stove until 02:30, and this morning we lit it again at 09:30. The last hour was stressful, but because we started in time, we managed to get it all done.” The rest of the year the Delftsche Zwervers cook on Tuesday and Thursday for EUR 3.50. If you want to join, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After visiting these four societies, two things stand out: they use a lot of plastic plates and there are a lot of leftovers. “There are so any dishes to wash, that we simply can’t use proper plates”, explains Rosanne of the Zwervers. And in terms of the leftovers, didn’t the OWee have a deal with the Food Bank? “We can’t use anything that is open,” says Hans Cenin of the Food Bank. The leftover dinner may not be used, but all the closed leftovers from lunch are for sure. “On Monday we had 900 whole breads from the OWee. Tuesday there were 2,000 sandwiches and Wednesday 1,500 pre-packed buns. We take them to three food banks in Pijnacker, Delft and Nootdorp. Plus we put a lot of them in the freezer for later.” When you want to sponsor the Food Bank yourself, because you are going on holiday for example, bring sealed food to the Food Bank on Wednesdays and Thursdays at Schieweg 73K.