Selfless Big Issue vendor Ian Duff has put out an offer for families self-isolating from the coronavirus to make use of his culinary skills by letting him cook a week’s worth of meals for them.
Former chef Ian has been selling the magazine for a decade and also runs catering social enterprise Duff Cooks alongside, cooking for charities and churches in Bath.
And on Wednesday, he tweeted out an offer for people with self-isolating elderly parents to get in touch so he can whip up their online grocery delivery into a week’s worth of meals free of charge.
Ian, 53, who sells the magazine on Union Street in Bath, told The Big Issue: “The basic idea would be to make stews, chillies and bologneses, basically stuff that can be packed up and cooked in batches rather than cooked individually.
Been thinking about this crisis and as duffcooks I would like to offer my services as a chef @WeLoveBath if you have loved ones who need prepared meals I can cook up to five meals per person per week you would need to supply the containers and ingredients I will offer this free
— ian duff (@ianduff4) March 18, 2020
“I’m not going to do an à la carte menu – it just wouldn’t be practical – but the idea is for people who are working but have parents who are self-isolating and don’t have the time to make stuff, they can give me a call.
“I can come up with meals for a week for each family and they can pick them up and put them in the freezer or fridge. It’s pretty much Meals on Wheels but not on that scale, I’m a one-man band not a multinational company.
“The offer is out there so we’ll see how it goes.”
The Big Issue has inspired the launch of 120 street papers globally, including sister titles in Australia, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
The tasty offer is in lieu of the work that Ian usually does, cooking a three-course pay-what-you-think-it’s-worth meal to aid charities supported by Bath’s Manvers Street Church every month.
With that event cancelled indefinitely, Ian is keen to put his skills in the kitchen to good use.
“I really enjoying cooking for the charities and stuff like that – it’s always basic menus but it’s nice and I get a lot of work through local churches as well,” he added.
“In the last year I have done the harvest festival meal and a 50th wedding anniversary. It is lot of bits and bobs and it’s more interesting than being in a kitchen and less stressful than being in a kitchen for 24 hours.”
If you want to take Ian up on his offer, you can contact him on Twitter here or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you want to support hard-working vendors like Ian but can’t get to their pitch during the coronavirus crisis, consider a Big Issue magazine subscription. More details are available at bigissue.com/subscribe.