Cooking for one can be challenging, especially when you're on a budget and trying to avoid food waste. But for Ellie May, a passionate cook, and Nat Keen from the Local Learning Network, this was an opportunity to create something special - a weekly program that not only teaches people how to cook for one but also fosters social connection and helps reduce waste.

It all started when a community member approached Nat, asking for tips on how to cook for one on a budget. Nat saw an opportunity to help and reached out to Ellie, who immediately jumped at the chance to share her love of cooking with others. Together, they created a program that has been a huge success.

Each week, a maximum of six people gather in the HBNC kitchen to make meals that work for one person. Ellie and Nat carefully select the recipes based on what the participants want to learn, making it a truly interactive experience. They focus on using pantry staples, minimising waste, and sticking to a low budget, making it accessible for everyone.

"We want to show people that cooking for one doesn't have to be boring or difficult. It can be fun, easy, and delicious," says Ellie.

To make cooking for one easier, Ellie and Nat look at how to scale down recipes, and they have even given each participant a cup and syringe to accurately measure small amounts of ingredients. They also encourage participants to speak to their neighbours, as they may have excess herbs in their cupboards that can be shared.

"We want to build social connections while reducing waste," Ellie explains.

The recipes they teach are designed to minimise the need to buy a one-off ingredient and instead show how one ingredient can be used in many different recipes and ways. Some popular recipes include bruschetta for one, base sauces, and bread making.

"I enjoy sharing my passion for cooking. I also learn a lot from the people I teach,” Ellie says. “If someone has enthusiasm in their cooking, they will be able to taste it in their food."

If you're interested in learning some cooking skills while also making new friends and reducing waste, the program is running every Friday until the end of May. Don't miss out on this amazing opportunity to connect with your community and learn something new. Book your spot today!