Meghan Markle makes secret visits to Grenfell to support community cookbook

·Royal Correspondent

The Duchess of Sussex is supporting a new charity cookbook – which celebrates the power of cooking to bring people together – marking her first project as a member of the royal family.

‘Together: Our Community Cookbook’ features over 50 recipes from women whose community was affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

The women decided to gather in the Al Manaar Centre in West London, and prepare fresh food for their families and neighbours, as a way of helping the community to connect, heal and look forward, and to convene through food. This became known as the Hubb Community Kitchen – hubb means love in Arabic.

Meghan, who is a renowned foodie, first visited the kitchen in January 2018 and has continued to make regular private visits.

During her visits, the Duchess learned that the kitchen was only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and when she asked why it wasn’t open seven days a week, the group revealed it was down to lack of funding.

The Duchess cooking with women in the Hubb Community Kitchen at the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in West London (Jenny Zarins)
The Duchess cooking with women in the Hubb Community Kitchen at the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in West London (Jenny Zarins)

The Duchess was inspired by how the project empowers women at a grassroots level, and championed the cookbook project as a way of ensuring the kitchen can continue transforming lives and communities through cooking.

Supported by The Royal Foundation and published by Penguin Random House companies, profits from the sales of the book will support the Hubb Community Kitchen, helping to keep it open for up to seven days a week and to widen its reach to others in the community.

The Duchess has also written a touching foreword, in which she says: “I immediately felt connected to this community kitchen; it is a place for women to laugh, grieve, cry and cook together. Melding cultural identities under a shared roof, it creates a space to feel a sense of normalcy – in its simplest form, the universal need to connect, nurture, and commune through food, through crisis or joy – something we can all relate to…

“Through this charitable endeavour, the proceeds will allow the kitchen to thrive and keep the global spirit of community alive.”

The Duchess will host an event on 20 September at Kensington Palace to mark the launch of the cookbook and will be joined by Prince Harry.

The cover of Together: Our Community Cookbook (Jenny Zarins)
The cover of Together: Our Community Cookbook (Jenny Zarins)

The royal family have continued to show their support for the community affected by the Grenfell Tower fire last June, with Prince William appearing on a special DIY SOS: Grenfell this month.

The Duke of Cambridge joined Nick Knowles and the team as they rebuilt a new boxing gym and community centre. He also spoke with some of those affected by the tragedy and offered comforting words of advice on how to cope with grief.

Together: Our Community Cookbook (Ebury Press, £9.99) is on sale in the UK from Thursday 20 September, 2018. Photography by Jenny Zarins.

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