Meghan Markle visits Grenfell community kitchen to help prepare 200 meals for elderly people's homes and shelters
The Duchess of Sussex visited the Hub Kitchen located close to the site of the Grenfell Tower fire to assist women in preparing meals for charity
Meghan Markle recently paid a visit to the Hubb Community Kitchen which inspired her collaborative work on a best-selling Grenfell Tower charity cookbook titled, 'Together: Our Community Cookbook', to greet all the workers and to lend a hand in prepping meals that would go out to elderly people's homes, homeless shelters, and women refugees.
According to the Daily Mail, the pregnant Duchess of Sussex visited the kitchen, which is located in proximity to the site of the deadly tower block blaze that killed 76, to see first hand the progress that had been made since the cookbook went on sale in September. The cookbook, which features more than 50 recipes from women whose communities were affected by the fire, proved to be an instant success when it went live on sale on Amazon, taking the number one spot on the Sunday Times and New York Times bestsellers list and selling a total of nearly 40,000 copies in the U.K. alone.
Estimates suggest the sales have raised £210,000 (approximately $269,000) towards the kitchen, aiding its renovation and helping it vamp up production from previously functioning just two days a week from when it first opened to now being open on all seven days.
Meghan, who had suggested the idea for the book when she first met the women who ran the kitchen, was snapped greeting coordinator Zaheera Sufyaan and wrapping her in a warm embrace. The Duchess also made sure she hugged and kissed each and every one of the workers inside before deciding to throw on an apron and help them herself.
The Mail reported that 200 meals were prepared with dishes including Egyptian lamb Fattah, Persian chicken, barberry rice, and rainbow roasted vegetables, the last of which was from a recipe by Iraqi chemist Ahlam Saeid.
Meghan had previously described the cookbook as a "tremendous labor of love" and could do little to contain her excitement as she told all the women how proud she was of them.
The Duchess also introduced chef Clare Smyth, a friend of hers, to volunteers in the kitchen, with the chef similarly gushing about the "incredible" people involved in the kitchen.
Smith said that Meghan had spoken with passion about the kitchen, saying, "She's really into food, she's a real foodie," adding that if "everyone took care of their community like this, there would be no issues in the world."
The kitchen got its start when a group of women gathered in a communal kitchen at the Al Manaar community center to prepare meals for friends, neighbors, and families affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. Word soon spread about the kitchen, christened the Hubb Kitchen, with the Duchess' keen interest — she has visited the kitchen regularly in private since January — generating further attention on their activities.
The cookbook idea was backed by the Royal Foundation and published by Penguin Random House companies with the aim of raising £250,000 to renovate the kitchen and open it seven days a week, and it is well on its way to achieving that goal. Following its renovation, the new facilities reportedly "provide a safe and professional space for the women to cook, gather and run activities within their community".
But the women are not just limiting themselves to the kitchen. The Mail reports that they have been trained to gain food hygiene qualifications and empowered to start their own projects, which include creating a group for women affected by domestic violence, a scheme to deliver nutritious, freshly cooked meals for women on maternity wards, and a project to produce healthy treats for children.