Young residents from YMCA North London have been given the opportunity to learn new skills and tackle the stigma attached to homelessness, in an innovative new pilot pop-up restaurant called ‘Fat Macys’.
Beyond a pop-up restaurant, Fat Macys is a skills-based training platform that provides a pathway for independent living by inviting residents to organise, create and curate culinary pop-up events across London.
Members of the public can book into any one of the weekly sessions, currently hosted in Brick Lane, London, with the profits going towards a specified housing deposit scheme. With every pop-up event, each chef can make an independent and progressive step in saving securely for their future.
YMCA North London residents Kevin, Liam, Tequila and Tarek are the first to take on the restaurants initial seven-week pilot run.
Fat Macy’s was named by resident Liam Gayle, who thought it was a good name for a chef, while including a bit of an in-joke for YMCA residents (Macy is an anagram of YMCA).
The project is the brainchild of Meg Doherty, who’s been on a postgraduate placement as part of social innovation course, Year Here.
Year Here is designed as a platform for graduates and young professionals who want to create solutions to entrenched social problems.
Meg completed a four-month placement at YMCA North London where she used to run weekly cooking classes. Through the classes, she realised food was a huge passion for residents, often a uniting factor between disparate groups.
She said: “It seemed clear that food could be the perfect vehicle for creating change for the residents. By hosting weekly ‘Kitchen Takeovers’ where residents could choose a recipe they wanted to try, buy the ingredients, and then cook together, the idea of Fat Macy’s was born.
“The residents have been involved in every aspect of the – from picking the menus, helping to write ordering lists, designing logos to writing social media copy.”
If you would like to book a table, visit their website.