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Finding comfort and joy in home cooking

The Basin Backyard

The aromas of freshly cooked meals have continued to flow throughout households in Knox, as “food therapy” provides distraction and entertainment during lockdown.

For Chef Instructor Lillie Giang, there was no hesitation in adapting to the online world to continue hosting cooking lessons and participating in online events.

She’s continued to run classes on Zoom for the Basin Community House, along with another weekly session she completes for NDIS students.

“We’ve had a lot of people connecting to those online classes because community centres have been closed during COVID and no one has anywhere to go to connect with others,” Lillie said.

“At the end of the classes we sit and have a chat, and it’s been a way where people can connect together.”

Lillie has also spent time cooking meals for people in need with the Mental Health Foundation Australia, as part of their COVID-19 meal delivery program, and created a Facebook Foodie page to stay connected and help her students.

“I try to connect with this group and make sure everyone is okay during these times. If I can’t help them, then I try to link them with others who can,” Lille said.

A regular presenter at the Stringybark Festival, COVID-19 restrictions also meant Lillie’s planned segment for the Basin Community House had to move online.

“We were planning to present on a livestream at the Basin Community House. But when we went into Stage 4 lockdown, I created my own videos in my own yard,” Lillie said.

The theme of Lillie’s event was “plot to pot,” taking sustainability and waste reduction as an inspiration for her meals.

“The whole idea revolved around composting and growing your own produce, then taking it straight from the garden and putting it into your pot,” Lillie said.

For a virtual audience of Festival attendees, Lillie created a Japanese Okonomiyaki and an Italian Panzanella salad; two recipes that help reduce food waste.

“I make the Okonomiyaki once or twice a week before I go food shopping. It’s a delicious pancake and nothing goes to waste,” Lillie said.

“Everybody that has tried making this recipe loves it!”

Lillie’s Basin Community Centre cooking classes are continuing online until restrictions ease.

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