Wherever you travel in the world, you will see people sharing a meal. More than just food, a meal is a platform for sharing stories and culture, of experiencing the lives of the people you seat yourself with. Restaurant culture separates us from the group at the next table, and finances separate some from the table entirely.
Lentil as Anything believes everyone deserves a place at the table.
The Lentil as Anything mission is to provide food without borders, without borders of race or socioeconomic status. Lentil As Anything also works to remove the borders in society through providing volunteer training and employment opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds, including those who have been marginalised.
Trust. Inclusion. Challenging the Norm.
Our restaurants have no set prices, and everyone is welcome to come and join us for a meal. Eat your fill, experience what the community has to offer, and pay as you feel into one of our contribution boxes. These contribution boxes are used to keep our restaurants running, and are Lentil as Anything’s sole source of income.
Lentil as Anything currently run four restaurants and a catering service in Australia, each with its own story, its own culture, and its own cuisine. The common thread among our restaurants is a dedication to high standards of food, service and culture. The secret to Lentil As Anything’s success has been catering to the community that each restaurant serves, encouraging them to support an organisation which helps to support them.
Most of the people you’ll see working at Lentil as Anything are volunteers – members of the community who are just as passionate about food, culture and community and we are. Some key staff, such as head chefs and restaurant managers, started out by volunteering at Lentil as Anything in their spare time. The underemployed, the homeless, refugees and the disenfranchised are all given an equal opportunity to gain skills and help their fellow humans at Lentil as Anything.
Shanaka Fernando is the Founder of Lentil as Anything. Originally from Sri Lanka, Shanaka opened the first Lentil as Anything in St. Kilda in 2000.
Social Return on Investment
The highly anticipated short film produced for Lentil as Anything on the Social Return on Investment (SROI) report conducted earlier this year. This SROI evaluation delves into the impact the activities of Lentil as Anything has on the community. Three restaurants were included in this evaluation, analysing the social value created by Lentils during the 2014 financial year: Abbotsford, Footscray and St Kilda.
Report produced by Think Impact
SROI analysis by Thryza Kleine
with guidance from Ross Wyatt
Directed, recorded and edited by Marcelo Zerwes
Music by Ben Kelly
Full SROI report can be read here