BRISBANE business leaders will team up with some of the city's top chefs to cook dinner for 300 homeless and disadvantaged people at OzHarvest Queensland's inaugural CEO CookOff.
The initiative aims to increase awareness of food insecurity, homelessness and food wastage across Australia, making its first trip to Brisbane on March 7.
OzHarvest Queensland is hoping to raise $250,000 to deliver another half a million meals to vulnerable people across the state.
CEO and founder of OzHarvest Ronni Kahn says the CEO CookOff helps inspire leadership in corporate social responsibility.
"The business sector and its leaders play a crucial role in helping organisations like ours address and find solutions to the issues of poverty, homelessness, hunger and waste," Kahn says.
"By taking part in the CEO CookOff, these corporate leaders and companies show that they care for the communities in which they operate.
"They also show a commitment to making a real difference and impact to the lives of people who are less fortunate."
A number of local business leaders have already signed up, including Lachlan McMurdo from Blue Sky Alternative Investments, John Greig from Deloitte, Daniel Brekan from Goodman, Anthony Walsh from Ausco, Julie Withey from Wilson HTM Foundation, Sheryl Weil from Macquarie and Mary Clark from PRA.
The executives will be split into teams under the guidance of chefs Ben O'Donoghue, Dominique Rizzo from Putia Pure Food Kitchen, Javier Codina from Moda Restaurant, Ben Williamson from Gerard's Bistro, Josue Lopez from QAGOMA, Ben Russell from ARIA Brisbane and David Pugh from Restaurant Two.
Wiley managing director Tom Wiley (pictured) has set a goal of raising $20,000 and says it's a great opportunity to give a little and help feed many.
"At Wiley, we focus on bringing food and people together in a better way," Wiley says.
"One of my staff stumbled across the event and shared it with me. I saw this as a grassroots way to connect and share a meal to help vulnerable Australians.
"Frankly I believe people from different situations coming together around food is an important and productive way we can seek to improve or even seek to solve the hunger challenge."
Every $1 donated means that OzHarvest can deliver the equivalent of two meals, with a social return on investment value of $5.68.
Wesley Mission Brisbane works in partnership with OzHarvest Queensland and has repurposed more than 2000 tonnes of food over the last four years.
Wesley Mission Brisbane executive director Geoff Batkin says that, with half a million Queenslanders living below the poverty line, the CEO CookOff is an opportunity to raise awareness of the issue.
"The CEO CookOff is much more than a cooking class; it's our chance to educate our leaders about the issues in their backyard and encourage more conversation about how the not-for-profit and private sectors can work together."
The CEO CookOff takes place at the Royal International Convention Centre. To register as a business leader or donate, please click here.
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