It was Eleanor Roosevelt who famously stated that “understanding is a two way street”. Although it’s unlikely she was referring to STREAT, the local social initiative that trains and employs disadvantaged and homeless youth whilst providing consistently delicious coffee and accompanying foodstuffs to the people of Melbourne, her words could just as easily describe the now highly successful enterprise that began as a humble food truck back in 2010.

In November STREAT called for financial pledges through crowdsourcing site Pozible, in exchange for both the warm and fuzzy feeling that accompanies random acts of goodwill and serious deal sweeteners, including pre-orders of the STREAT cookbook. The money was needed to fund the expansion of the coffee truck that currently sits beside Melbourne Central’s escalators into a full scale café, serving predominantly “grab and go” food to uni students, corporates and other generally time poor Melburnians who pass through the centre.

The good news? The campaign’s $40,000 target has been reached, Melbourne Central’s GPT Group, Six Degrees Architects and a slew of other corporate sponsors have committed the rest and the refurbished space is due to open in February, with the official launch of the cookbook to follow.

Alongside staple dishes that are consistently on the menu at STREAT’s existing venues (on Racecourse Rd, Flemington and McKillop St, in the city), the cookbook is filled with recipes that were developed by graduates of the STREAT program, alongside Head Chef Rob Auger.

“Graduates were asked to select a positive memory of a meal or recipe from their childhood,” explains Rebecca Scott, founding CEO. “These recipes were then reinterpreted until they were at restaurant level, whilst still evoking that initial memory. The cookbook is extremely personal, embedded in the stories of STREAT and the youth who make it.”

With delights such as a twist on traditional bread and butter pudding included in the cookbook, stopping youth homelessness has never tasted so good. Go on, calories don’t count when they’re for a great cause.

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For $45, the 160-page hardcover STREAT Cookbook can be ordered online or purchased at any of the STREAT cafe locations.