#Cook2Connect (Share a plate with a mate)

#Cook2Connect: Manu Fieldel and Jason Roberts lead A-list culinary lineup for new campaign to help OzHarvest

Bold new project to tackle record levels of food insecurity and loneliness

Levels of food insecurity and loneliness are at all-time highs in Australia.

Pre-pandemic, 1 in 4 Australians were already reporting problematic levels of loneliness. In 2020, this number increased by 100% with 1 in 2 Australians now feeling lonely. As Australians dip in and out of lockdown, food insecurity is still ravaging the country, with an estimated 200% increase in the number of Australians experiencing it, many for the first time in their lives.[1]

To combat these epidemics taking place in COVID-19’s shadow, Australia’s most-loved culinary figures are joining forces to remind Australians about the benefits of mealtimes. The result is #Cook2Connect – a digital campaign that encourages us all to ‘share a plate with a mate’ – while also raising much-needed funds for OzHarvest

Coordinated by MGI Entertainment, #Cook2Connect builds on the success of its 2020 campaign #HomeCooked – which saw over 300,000 meals provided to food insecure Australians through its support of OzHarvest.

OzHarvest’s Head of Impact, Ashley Killeen, said there had been a noticeable change in the numbers and types of people seeking help, at a time when resources are already limited.

“We are so appreciative of the #Cook2Connect support, every dollar donated allows us to deliver two meals to Australians in need. It is also imperative to raise awareness about an issue that very much exists under the surface. There can be a lot of shame when it comes to food insecurity.”

Plated up between September and October, the digital campaign will see culinary icons such as Poh Ling Yeow, Manu, and Clarissa Fielder, Jason Roberts, and more provide home cooks with nourishing recipes to connect with loved ones and give back to the community.

The #Cook2Connect culinary vignettes, presented in short-film style, will bring viewers inside the chefs’ kitchens. Each will show how to prepare dishes that are personally meaningful to the chef, while they share the intimate memories behind the meals.

Amidst record levels of loneliness and food insecurity, the videos will also have a timely call to action. Audiences will be inspired to share a meal with a loved one and make a donation to OzHarvest, providing a meal to those in need.

“Cook2Connect’s ‘Share a Plate with a Mate’ is a creative and practical way to help Australians re-engage with the community, following what has been a particularly lonely time for many. I am really proud to be a part of this important cause,” said Poh Ling Yeow.

Research from the University of Oxford revealed that the more people eat with others, the more likely they are to feel less loneliness and stress, and more happiness and connection.

“Cooking and sharing food together is about so much more than alleviating hunger, it feeds happiness and a sense of connection. As lockdowns persist, many of us are eating alone,” said Byron Keane, General Manager of Content at MGI Entertainment. “This is an excellent opportunity to get creative. Set up a Zoom with friends and prepare and eat a meal together, albeit from your respective homes. Or – if you’re not in lockdown – cook a dish and share it with someone who may be lonely tonight. It all makes a difference, this is what #Cook2Connect is all about.”

#Cook2Connect ‘Share a Plate with a Mate’ is supported by a range of iconic Australasian food and cooking brands including Perfection Fresh, D’Orsogna, Kenwood, Nature Nate’s Honey, NH Foods Australia, and, with more supporters to be announced soon.

About MGI Entertainment:

Founded in 2010, MGI is considered Asia-Pacific’s leading entertainment, content, marketing agency, having produced campaigns with; Brad Pitt, Jessica Alba, Beyonce, Maroon 5, Beyonce, Andy Lau, Zhang Ziyi, Karen Mok, Nicholas Tse, Nigella Lawson, Ronaldinho, Kobe Byrant, and many other Influencer and Key Opinion Leader campaigns. In 2019, MGI launched “Taste of Australia”: a series of promotional campaigns where Key Opinion Leaders from the Chinese market experience the best wine, tourism, and produce. https://www.mgientertainment.com/

About OzHarvest:

Since 2004, OzHarvest has collected quality excess food from commercial outlets and delivered it to those that need it most. However, while businesses close their doors and food supplies dwindle, the need for OzHarvest’s services has soared by 50 percent. Australia’s economic hardships caused by the coronavirus follow ongoing impacts brought about by this year’s devastating bushfires. https://www.ozharvest.org/