Poh Ling Yeow might be known for her quirkily inventive cross-cultural style in the kitchen but at this time of year there’s one staple she’s happy to see served up hundreds of times – the simple pancake.
The celebrity cook is ambassador for UnitingCare’s Pancake Day, with the fundraiser being held around Australia on 28 February.
This year all money raised will support UnitingCare programs for people living in crisis, who may be suffering from homelessness, abusive relationships, addictions, financial hardship or illness.
“Food is a way that we cement relationships and grow a sense of community and I think it’s fantastic when you can cook something and know that you are helping those less fortunate,” Poh said.
In an age where sharing a meal often means putting the most envy-inducing photo on Instragram, Poh remains committed to the idea that food should be a great equaliser, something that reminds us of our basic human needs.
The experience of making the ABC series Poh’s Kitchen Lends a Hand, where she helped feed marginalised and dispossessed people in Australia and overseas, has left an indelible impression on Poh.
“I met people who even in incredible circumstances of hardship and social exclusion endured with a quiet dignity,” Poh said.
“These are the people who just need a bit of a helping hand.”
Oddly, for someone who was runner-up in the first series of Masterchef and has gone on to make a number of TV cookery series and create other numerous outlets for her creative culinary skills, Poh admitted she only learnt how to make a good pancake a couple of years ago.
“Now I love pancakes,” Poh said.
“They’re a customer favourite at my Jamface café in Adelaide Central Markets.
“Food should always be fun so get out and start flipping knowing that you are also helping fight growing inequality.”
Tuesday 28 February is the official Pancake Day, but events can be held at any time throughout February and March.
Churches, community groups and individuals can get involved by creating their own pancake-flipping event in their home, school, work or community.
Register to host a Pancake Day event at www.pancakeday.com.au or call 1800 060 543 to receive your free host pack with everything you’ll need to plan your event.