"Having a place to call home is precious,” writes HRH The Duke of Cambridge in the foreword to A Taste of Home, a new cookbook published to raise funds for London’s largest homeless charity, The Passage – the Westminster resource centre in which the Duke has personal experience as “chief carrot-chopper”.
The charity is marking 40 years, during which it has helped more than 130,000 people out of homelessness. Coinciding with World Homeless Day today, all profits from the book, published on October 15, will go directly to The Passage.
The 120 recipes featured (many never before seen) have been donated by public figures, celebrities and chefs, including Samantha Cameron, Andrew Marr, David Dimbleby, Stephen Fry, Ken Hom, Nadiya Hussain, Yotam Ottolenghi, Rick Stein and Mary Berry.
The book was compiled by former publisher Kyle Cathie, who founded Kyle Books. “The Passage feeds so many, but they’d never used food to raise money. I knew from my career how successful cookbooks could be, so I thought I could do something for them. I see homeless people on the streets all the time, and feel how blessed I am to have a home when they don’t,” she explains. “I wanted to create a beautiful book in its own right that would last for years to come. The recipes are intended to be nourishing, doable, and above all, delicious.”
The book includes 40 first courses, 40 main courses and 40 desserts (such as Telegraph food writer Diana Henry’s baked apricots with marsala ice cream), with vegan and vegetarian recipes and dishes from all over the world, like Caroline Eden’s chicken and pomegranate plov from Uzbekistan.
The Passage’s staff and clients have also contributed, including its head chef of 21 years, Claudette Dawkins, who has led the charity’s emergency food hub campaign during the pandemic, providing more than 62,000 meals for rough sleepers.
“Figures for London show that in the year leading up to March 2020 there were over 10,000 people sleeping rough in London, a 170 per cent increase since 2010,” notes Mick Clarke, the charity’s chief executive officer.
“The first wave of Covid-19 saw a huge effort to get everyone off the streets and into safety. It’s one of the few rays of light that we saw it could be done,” he says. “The winter is going to be challenging. The inevitable recession means preventing homelessness before it becomes entrenched will be critical. This special book plays a role in the continuing story of The Passage – a celebration of people coming together to help those in need.”
As well as assisting vulnerable people at Westminster, The Passage’s House Our Homeless appeal aims to move those in emergency accommodation into sustainable, privately rented accommodation, providing “move on packs” with essentials such as beds, kettles, microwaves and mobiles. Other services transforming lives for good include employment programmes through its “Hotel School” with The Goring Hotel, homelessness prevention schemes, accommodation, street outreach, healthcare and work to prevent modern slavery.
A Taste of Home (£25) is out on October 15; visit passage.org.uk for details