Monday, 24 August 2015

A social dining revolution in Port Augusta

Whilst the capital cities are getting a taste of television’s “Restaurant Revolution”, Port Augusta has its own dining revolution taking shape – and this one has a social mission to improve the wellbeing of our oldest generation.
Test Kitchen is back in Port Augusta with a 3-month start-up plan. “We plan to serve meals in our pop-up dining room set in the Cooinda EF McAuliffe room and to keep learning about how to connect generations through meal times by creating positive social and sensory experiences” said Test Kitchen co-founder Julie-Ann Hill.
A winner of the Innovation in Ageing Challenge run by the Office for the Ageing (OFTA), Test Kitchen is working with Meals on Wheels SA and the local Port Augusta branch, “it is about bringing the social elements of meal-time back to those who find themselves eating alone on most days“ says local Meals on Wheels branch Chairman Doug Morton.
Whilst the enterprise is being designed to deliver social and nutritional wellbeing benefits to our oldest generation the best way to do this could be through fostering social interactions across generations. That means we want to build an enterprise that younger generations will interact with as well; younger people that have a special affinity for and interest in the lives of their older neighbours. There is a lot to be gained for everyone when the generations interact in social contexts like meal times.
Test Kitchen believe the recipe to a great meal experience goes beyond the food to include the design of the dining space and the social interactions that take place during the meal – “these are the things that we will be experimenting with over the coming weeks and months” said Julie-Ann, “there will be different meals each time, so there won’t be an issue of boredom with the food, and we will play with different themes in the dining room and even different locations”.
Julie-Ann, an experienced Chef and graduate of Flinders University’s New Ventures Institute says that “currently, Test Kitchen is serving their own style of lunches fortnightly on Wednesday’s and trying a range of different alternative options on Thursdays which might even involve hosting guests at local eateries around town”. 
“Test Kitchen is in a rapidly evolving ‘testing phase’ so we are exploring many ideas through to October 8th to help us learn more about our customers, their needs and desires” said Julie-Ann “We have heard a lot about the problem of cooking for one and that meal times can really lose their appeal when you have only yourself to think about - we want to change that and make them appealing again”.
 “Our job is to learn from our customers to get the elements right for the social dining enterprise of the future that will see our oldest neighbours energised and uplifted by great food and great company” said Julie-Ann “whether that is best done in their homes, out in shared community spaces or a combination of the two is part of what we are looking to discover”.
In addition to the Test Kitchen dining room at Cooinda’s EF McAuliffe room, Test Kitchen will also trial their innovative Host @ Home products during this ‘testing phase’; supporting home-hosted meals by and for older people.
Meals on Wheels recipients can contact Chris Todd (secretary) on 86425640 or 0414286425 for further information and bookings.
To enquire or make a reservation call Test Kitchen on 86411307.


Welcome to the Test Kitchen NewsFeed where you will find news related to Test Kitchen SA a South Australian start-up social enterprise.

Test Kitchen NewsFeed will also produce articles related to the nutritional and social well-being of older persons.

The Test Kitchen project is a winner of the inaugural South Australian Innovation in Ageing Challenge funded by the Office for the Ageing (OFTA) and run by The Australian Centre for Social Innovation. The project is auspiced by Meals on Wheels SA Inc.

To learn more about this challenge and get a taste of the Test Kitchen project visit the Ageing Challenge blog at