WALKING the streets of Sierra Leone Kat Buxton was amazed by the generosity of locals who would invite her into their homes for a meal, despite having very little for themselves.
An enthusiastic cook Mrs Buxton has now replicated this generosity in her own Porthtowan home by opening it to the public as a pop-up restaurant – The Food Commune – in order to raise money for orphans in the war-torn country.
Mrs Buxton and her husband Patrick were volunteering as teachers in the African country after an invitation from friends who live there.
Whilst there she was shocked by the level of poverty experienced by children and the restricted access to education that they have.
As a result when they returned the couple decided to raise money to pay for children at an orphanage to be educated and the couple now support 24 children with school fees.
To help pay for this and with plans to raise money for a health centre to be built in the area Kat is using the culinary skills which saw her crowned champion of a Mid Cornwall Come Dine With Me-style competition.
Speaking from her kitchen she said: “I love cooking and I love having people around my dinner table so I thought this was an ideal way of bringing them together.
“In Sierra Leone when walking through the streets we would have people calling to us from their homes and inviting us to eat with them – now I am doing the same.
“As well as raising money for the children I also want to bring people together, people who might not normally eat together coming together around my dining table.
“Many people cannot afford to go out and eat nowadays either so this is an affordable way of being able to enjoy that as well.”
Kat aims to charge her guests a minimum with many evenings costing around £5 for two courses. She then invites guests to make a donation to her collection for Sierra Leone.
Menus for each evening are posted on The Food Commune Facebook page each day with anyone wishing to dine just asked to let Kat know in advance.
She said: “When in Sierra Leone we were amazed by the level of poverty which people are facing there everyday.
“But despite this and the problems they face the children are so enthusiastic to go to school and are so proud of their uniforms.
“They all know that education is their route out of their situation and really appreciate any opportunity they are given.
“But they need more and we are now hoping to help fund a health centre which is badly needed.”
To find out more go to www.facebook.com/thefoodcommune