Community ~ Connections ~ Feel Good

Food is so much more than a means to an end; food is memory, food is emotion, food can be medicine for the soul. We started this project because we believe sharing A Beautiful Food Experience is a great way to help people experiencing loneliness and social isolation build local community connections and feel good.

207 out of 301 community participants experiencing some form of social isolation due to ageing, physical and mental health issues, language barriers and homelessness completed a survey while attending lunch events in 2018: (move cursor over charts for details)


I felt...

How did coming to today's lunch make you feel? (select all that apply)

Feedback from participants:

“I feel happy and I enjoy the food. Today made me feel relaxed positive and better, thanks for having me here and I hope you feed more people.”

“This is my first time here and I enjoyed the food. Made me feel fantastic! Great job, keep it up!!”

“Brilliant, Simply Brilliant!”

“Great atmosphere; lovely food, good company.”

“I felt relaxed because we had two interesting people to sit with (people we did not know!).”

“Warm and engaging experience, delightful.”

“The food was excellent, also the people at my table were friendly and helpful.”

“Understanding and explaining what was the food, was very cool, thanks.”

“I found all walks of life, enjoyed company and fine food. Put on by the (kind) hosts!!”

“You guys are amazing and it has allowed me to feel accepted in the community. Your food was heavenly.”

“Warm of the heart of the people.”

I connected...

Did you meet or talk with anyone at today's lunch? (select all that apply)

“It is a great pleasure to be included in this outing it really made my day. Perfect food, amazing people, staff very caring, very helpful, very concerned, beautiful staff. Thumbs up!”

“I think this is lovely and mixing with many interesting international people. I think the whole occasion is absolutely lovely and stimulating.”

“Everything good. 1st time like it.”

“Delicious lunch, great company, enjoyed my time.”

“Enjoyed the food, atmosphere, chatting with people - it has made my day - my week feel special and something to look forward to.”

“It was very good. It was my first time and I had a lovely time.” 

“It was a day to remember with joy and thankfulness.”

“Thank you for all your effort. A special thanks to the restaurants for their HEART."

“I felt very Happy to come today and share this experience.”

“The food was great. The people who look after us were great and thank you to all the Kitchen people.”

“Thank you. The lunch and the community feel was lovely.”

I would come again...

Would you like to come to another community lunch?

“A wonderful idea, the food and atmosphere was magnificent.”

“Thank you - A new experience for me!”

“Food enjoyable and meeting new people was a pleasure. The effort of the people serving and who cooked the food was very nice 🌼.”

“Sophisticated food which otherwise wouldn't have had. Good fun eating on the street undercover.” “Thanks so much to the organisers, volunteers and businesses involved. Much approached. Love to all! Many thanks!”

“The food was amazing, the atmosphere is great and it's lovely to be able to go out to a restaurant for a meal, it seems to be a relaxing thing to do!”

“I loved the atmosphere, food and happy vibe.”

“New people to meet, having a joyful experience. Food was delicious.” 

“Thank you very much, it's so lovely that this lunch brings so many different people together.”

“It was nice to try some foods that I wouldn't normally eat. My fav was the spring rolls, Absolutely Awesome!”


Feedback from Community services:

“Thank you for another wonderful lunch yesterday. I brought 5 residents from Hambelton House SRS along yesterday and I just wanted you to know how much they all loved the experience!

They all said the food was fantastic (they ate a lot!) and they were lining up to have their photo taken and give positive feedback at the end. They were also really stoked to meet the Mayor. She sat on our table for quite some time and listened to their stories.

They were so happy on the drive home and mentioned several times what a great day it was so thank you! See you at the next event.” Bolton Clarke

“I would like to thank each and every one of you had been involved in organising this luncheon. I felt very privilege to have been able to join in with my clients. They all enjoyed it very much.

One of my clients said ‘I’m house bound and unable to get anywhere by myself, this event is the only time, I get out and can connect with others in my community. I’m forever grateful for the invention of the hoist bus, for all the work everyone has put in to make this happen.’

I was able to connect with other workers and network and promote the work I do at City of Port Phillip. I was able to get information of other support out there for my clients which was a big bonus. Thank you again on behalf of my clients and City of Port Phillip.”

Cora Graves Community Centre


“Many thanks for yesterday’s Beautiful Food Experience. Myself and my co-worker attended with 8 tenants from the Older Persons Highrise. We thoroughly enjoyed the event.

The fellowship of sharing a meal of such excellent quality in a warm and hospitable environment was much appreciated by all. We hope to bring others along next time so that they might have the opportunity to experience what we did today.” 

Star Health Older Persons High Rise Support Program


“I have had such positive feedback from everyone who I have invited to the last 2 meals. Everyone loves the experience. It has also been fantastic for networking with other agencies. It has also enhanced the social connections between people – we invite people who are often strangers to each other, and it has been lovely to see people interact with each other during the meal. You are doing excellent work :)” 

Port Phillip Community Group


“Thank you for today's lunch, food was fantastic, meeting new people and networking with other community organisations. Absolutely enjoyable, brought a lot of smiles to faces.”

Christ Church, St Kilda

“When we were getting ready to go one of my clients said ‘the Market is not open today Mark are you sure it is on?’ When they realised that the restaurants were opening up specially for them they were blown away.

On the way home everyone commented on how delicious the food was and how great it was to socialise and connect with other people.

The volunteers were warm, welcoming and the atmosphere was friendly. Looking forward to bringing more clients along next time.”

Sacred Heart Mission St Kilda

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Co-Designed Approach

An initial lunch event was held in May 2018 to showcase the purpose and potential of the project to staff from local community organisations and to build connections and encourage services to book their clients in to attend A Beautiful Food Experience events. Staff from 12 diverse community service organisations from across the City of Port Phillip attended the planning lunch.

Informal feedback was collected during the staff lunch followed by an online survey inviting community organisations to provide more detailed feedback and recommendations on the design and delivery of future events to best meet the needs of their clients. 

Nine community organisations provided detailed feedback which was integrated into the final design of how lunches are catered, the type of food that is prepared and how it is served, seating arrangements, how people are approached to share their experiences and have their stories filmed and the process for community services to book their clients to attend.

Nothing connects people like the power of personal story:

In addition to data from captured from monthly surveys, insights into the impact of the project are captured through digital storytelling and interviews. Participants, support workers and volunteers are invited to share what being part of A Beautiful Food Experience means to them by either recording their stories or taking part in a short interview. Visit our stories page to find out more.