Ethical eating

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Customers bartering excess produce from their garden for a cooked meal isn’t something your average caterer or restaurant offers.

But there’s nothing average about Hidden Pantry, in Bibra Lake.

Owner Shona Hunter describes her business as an eco-ethical catering company.

“This is a profitable social enterprise. We do good and we make money out of it. This is the way business should be.”

The Cockburn local is hardcore: Everything is organic, nothing with food colouring or preservatives will be found on the shelves and anything with a chemical number is rejected outright when it comes to stocking the kitchen.

All the food is GM-free, fair trade and where-ever possible sourced locally ensuring low food kilometres.

“And seasonal is an important part,” Ms Hunter says.

It’s not just the edibles that are rigorously scrutinised: The aprons and hats the staff wear are ethically sourced from a women’s group in Uganda.

“[And] when we have a function we get platters from the op-shop rather than buy new,” Ms Hunter says.

All the food is GM-free, fair trade and where-ever possible sourced locally ensuring low food kilometres.

Friday is take-away night, when more than 85 people reward themselves after a busy working week, collecting a pre-cooked dinner on the way home.

When the Herald rocked up last week a heap of donated lemons and a couple of large lemongrass plants earned the customer a tick for a free dinner next week.

Some people bike in to collect their dinner and the idea of offering a discount to cycling customers is being looked at, Ms Hunter says.

In its first year the Hidden Pantry turned over $13,000—four years on it’s $300,000, and Ms Hunter has catering contracts with a number of local councils.

The self-confessed “world’s biggest advocate for Fair Trade” still doesn’t pay herself a wage, and the money goes back into the business.

The D’Angers took their own containers (the Hidden Pantry containers are biodegradable so no worries if you forget) and happily tucked into a delicious, guilt-free, barramundi green fish curry, with lemon grass essential oil, and a macadamia, lemon myrtle laksa (both $18).

The accompanying organic green paw paw salad (included in the price) was wonderfully fresh and delicately flavoured. D’Angerous Dave wasn’t keen on his coconut sago ($6), and I’m not a fan of the traditionally English boarding school dessert, but I did think the pineapple, mint salsa on top was terrific.

Hidden Pantry
22 Gwilliam Drive, Bibra Lake
0448 942 657

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