“the kitchen box”, against precariousness, a free workshop for the most disadvantaged

“The kitchen box” in Nancy, is a place initiated by the association Accueil et Réinsertion Sociale (ARS), since January 10, to cook against precariousness. The workshops are free and free upon registration.

The kitchen box opened its doors in Nancy on January 10, 2022. It will be officially inaugurated next May. But it is already bearing fruit.

Initiated by Accueil et Réinsertion Sociale (ARS), this initiative has something to delight many people. The workshop is completely free. The food bank provides a large part of the ingredients and Nadia Sutter-Hulot, head of this project can count on a butcher’s shop in Nancy to offer her products at cost price and two restaurants that practice solidarity rounding. For spices and a few items that are a little more complicated to find, she manages with the small budget generated by donations and grants.

The only challenge is that we eat on time. At half past twelve, we sit down to eat.

Nadia Sutter-Hulot, project manager “The kitchen box”

Here, it’s not just about cooking, but about using this powerful cooking engine to create social ties.

This is what Nadia explains to us Sutter Hulot : “Cooking opens the senses. It opens the memories. It’s a bubble, a space of freedom. We voluntarily wanted to set no integration objective. It’s only a link around “eating” and culture“. She adds : “the only challenge is that we eat on time. At half past twelve, we sit down to eat.”

I like seeing people I don’t know.

Behind the central island, everyone is at their post. We peel the pears, we hull the strawberries, for what will be the dessert. There are the newcomers, like William, who arrived in France two years ago. Originally from Venezuela, he discovered French cuisine at the same time as the language. Even if France is the country of birth of his mother. “I come here to learn to cook. “The “eat” from here is good. The cuisine helps to speak French better.”

The thing here is that there is always someone who has a good idea’‘, we breath Nadia Sutter-Hulot, head of the “kitchen box” project . She adds : “we listen, we modify the recipe sometimes“.
And on this point, Lysiane is not left out. Lysiane is retired. She lives alone with a meager pension. However, she does not hesitate to cook for her neighbours, even more in need than she sometimes does. Lysiane has been a seamstress, cook and many other things in her professional life. What he likes about this workshop is “friendliness“. She adds : ” I like seeing people I don’t know“.
Lysiane is very caring for others. She shows them the gestures, shares her skill. “I hope that when I am old, they will do the same. It seems that giving is receiving… So…“, a sentence immediately followed by a broad laugh.

Here, you won’t hear anyone complaining about their situation. The word “precarious”, they do not want to hear it. They are here to cook. Discreet, but very involved in the preparation of beef balls, a small group of three people whom we will call Isabelle, Gérard and Julie, because they wish to remain anonymous, seem to appreciate this moment as an enchanted parenthesis in their week.
Moreover, they have already registered for an upcoming course.

We do with what we have.

Nadia Sutter-Hulot, project manager “The kitchen box”

For the recipes, Nadia composes according to the arrivals of the food bank: “We do with what we have. Often, we run out of eggs. The cakes are a great success and the participants like to take them home for their families.“But, for her, the idea is also to give them access to vegetables and fruits that they cannot afford because the prices are too high.”Endives, at the moment, the price does not allow most people who come here to afford it. So, we are very happy to offer them those from the food bank“.

We will come back.

Newbies from the workshop

For 2h30, everyone will cook in a good mood, gently making fun of those who are just starting out. But all together, and this is the most important thing, they will prepare their meal.
That day, “endives with cream, beef meatballs with mushrooms and carrots and pear with honey and its red fruit coulis“. They are going to share this meal. The moment to also offer good slices of fun. Solo mother, retired, people in need, all and all have forgotten their troubles, the time of an enchanted half-day. “We will come back“say the newbies.

The idea is that they can immediately cook for their family or for themselves the same thing as what they have done here.

Nadia Sutter-Hulot, project manager “The kitchen box”

After tidying up the kitchen, Nadia will distribute what’s left of the food bank products. “The idea is that they can immediately cook for their family, or for themselves, the same as what they did here“. In the distribution, there will also be the possibility of taking yoghurts or other products collected by Nadia.

The kitchen box is free from Tuesday to Friday upon registration, reserved for those in need.

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