Stories On Our Plate (SOOP)

Citizen’s Name: Jack Fleming

Organisation: Stories On Our Plate (SOOP)

Position: Co-Founder & Director

Location: London

What is SOOP all about?

SOOP uses food as a means of socio-economic opportunity for cooks with refugee and migrant status wishing to champion their food in the UK’s food and catering industry. SOOP’s founding philosophy is the celebration of diversity and commonalities through food, of which we all have a story to tell. SOOP champions the humanising effect of eating and cooking together to move away from labelling and to take away the ‘othering’.

SOOP provides a 10-week culinary programme for participants wishing to break into the food and catering industry. The progamme champions the use of networking and mentoring from SOOP ambassadors who are made up of supper club chefs, restauranters, entrepreneurs, and cookery teachers, who all share their recipes and perspectives. Participants also develop their own teaching skills by leading their own sessions and sharing their recipes. The finale of the programme is celebrated through the participant’s own supper clubs.

How long have you been operating?

SOOP formed in May 2016 and launched in October with SOOP’s monthly storytelling supper club series, which champions the food and stories of guest chefs and raises funds for the SOOP teaching programmes.

Where did the idea start?

Jack, with a background in Conflict Resolution and food/peacebuilding projects, wished to create an organisation in London that not only championed the use of food for bringing people together but to utilise food as a means of socio-economic opportunity for people marginalised in society.

How do TOWNHALL Citizens or visitors get involved?

SOOP takes pride and value in welcoming people of all backgrounds and skills who wish to donate some of their time to the SOOP community – for example helping at events, research, design skills. We are always open to chefs who wish to collaborate on the monthly supper club series, as well as seminar discussion events that we host every quarter. SOOP are inclusive to collaborations of any kind, so do not hesitate to get in touch.

Do you have any success stories?

Plenty! Our programme participants have grown in confidence to deliver cooking sessions of their own in preparation for their first supper clubs in London.

Do you have a project on TOWNHALL or an important event or mission coming up?

We have two very special supper clubs on the 20th & 27th July that is hosted by the SOOP participants for their first Nigerian and Syrian pop ups respectively. This is a celebration of their food along with insights of their experience on the SOOP culinary programme.

Are you raising funds for anything specific?

SOOP’s monthly supper club series raise funds for the SOOP culinary progammes, so ticket sales from SOOP events go towards a very good cause.

What’s the overall vision for SOOP?

SOOP hopes to establish SOOP hubs in London and beyond that host SOOP training programmes, storytelling supper clubs, and a range of events that champion the food for social means. Our wider mission is to focus the conversation on how food can be used in our communities to foster common ground, respect diversity, and open up opportunity.

Anything else you’d like to add or that you think we should know?

Stay updated with SOOP’s public supper clubs through our Grub Club page – https://grubclub.com/stories-on-our-plate-soop

You can also keep up to date via our Instagram and Facebook channels, along with new website to be launched shortly!

Instagram: soop_stories

Facebook: Stories On Our Plate (SOOP)