Enrolled nurse Ebony Shalders is passionate about cooking and it would be fair to say she has a lot on her plate.
Ebony is a mother of two youngsters, works part-time at Woolgoolga’s Beach Street Family Practice and Coffs Harbour Base Hospital and also runs a business, cooking meals for mainly older people.
“My mission is to nourish my community, particularly the elderly, through well-balanced, delicious meals cooked with time and care,” she says.
Ebony began her business – My Kindness Kitchen – nearly a year ago after realising some of the people she met through her work at Beach Street Family Practice weren’t getting enough nutrition.
“I started cooking for one gentleman who I heard was living alone and wasn’t eating properly,” she says. “I started making him soup … eventually we called it ‘old man soup’ and then I began making it for a few of the patients at work.
“Now I change the menu weekly, but I like to make sure I have a vegetarian dish, a beef dish, a chicken dish.
“I try to keep it old school like meatloaf and stews and curried sausage, satay chicken, pot roast – nothing too fancy.”
Her meals are priced at a very reasonable $7 each, to cover the cost of ingredients and renting a commercial kitchen. As well as cooking, Ebony also delivers the frozen meals between Korora and Darlington Park one day a week. At the moment she is making about 70 meals weekly.
Ebony is thankful for the support she receives from the Beach Street Family Practice. Beach Street has generously chipped in financially to help her cook meals for those affected by the recent flooding at Corindi, as well as for the homeless over the past year.
“They’re great, my boss is very supportive,” she says.
Before becoming a nurse, Ebony worked in the hospitality industry, managing venues and jumping into the kitchen to lend a hand whenever she could.
“I just love it, it makes me happy,” she says. “Now, I love talking to elderly people, hearing their stories – it’s very interesting.”
While Ebony says it’s not her intention to get wealthy from her business – ‘That’s not the point’ – she hopes to continue to grow her customer base. Being time poor, she would love the help of a business mentor to guide her along the way.
Ebony accepts meal orders up to Tuesday mornings and delivers the meals to her customers on Fridays. Click here for more information about My Kindness Kitchen or to get in touch.
Pictured: Ebony Shalders delivers frozen home cooked meals to 94-year-old Woolgoolga resident Marcia Haines.