By Larissa Dubecki
For Attica’s Ben Shewry, supporting social enterprise Two Good was a no-brainer. “I don’t get involved in any kind of charity work lightly. There are so many requests and I have to really believe in it before I’ll put my name to something. With Two Good I really came to trust in their mission… it’s sincere and really worthwhile.”
Born in Sydney three years ago and launched in Melbourne this week, Two Good supports women fleeing domestic violence. A buy-one-donate-one system means for every lunch that Two Good sells, made from a recipe supplied by a leading chef, another is given to a domestic violence shelter. As the name might attest, the benefits don’t stop there – Two Good also provides the women living in participating refuges with hospitality training that helps them rebuild their lives and re-enter the workforce.
Co-founder Rob Caslick says the idea for Two Good came from helping run a soup kitchen in Sydney’s Kings Cross 10 years ago. “We came to realise that as well as providing a meal we could go one step further and provide dignity and self-respect and worth. It was about going the extra step from simply providing food to providing the training that could really help change lives.”
Leading chefs including Stephanie Alexander, Neil Perry, Peter Gilmore, Maggie Beer, Kylie Kwong and Andrew McConnell have been prominent Two Good supporters; for the Melbourne launch, Shewry pitched in with a recipe for cold noodle salad with free-range chicken, kim chi and fresh herbs. Customers can also order a Cypriot grain salad designed by George Calombaris, or a ceviche-style kingfish with puffed rice from Chin Chin’s Benjamin Cooper.
“For $14 you get a great lunch and the knowledge that thanks to you someone else is being fed. It’s a nice feeling,” says Caslick. “We’ve put a lot of work into making a meal that we’ve designed to not only look beautiful but be healthy and nutritious.”
Calombaris says the notion of dignity through food was a topic to which any chef could relate. “Something like Two Good, where they help the women get kitchen training so they can get their dignity back, really resonated with me. Most chefs will find it a really good story of learning to be empowered through food and using it as a stepping stone to independence.”
The Two Good program will see women rotate through a three-month traineeship. A social worker employed by Two Good will help them find pathways to employment, with the Sydney program already seeing great success in that department.
“I think there’s a growing awareness among restaurateurs, especially groups like the Lucas Group, of the need to support initiatives like this,” says Chin Chin’s Cooper. “Anyone working in this industry learns to have a better appreciation of people and our social obligation to each other.”
In Melbourne, the meals will be made in the commercial kitchen at a domestic violence safe house in South Melbourne specifically for women over the age of 50, put into jars and delivered directly to offices and businesses in the CBD free of charge by delivery partner Deliveroo. At the moment there’s an order minimum of 10 meals.
“We’re aiming to sell and donate 2000 meals a week,” says Caslick. “If we can hit that target we’ll be thrilled – we’ll know we’re really hitting the mark.”