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Everyday Enviro with Elise - Parliament on King

Date: 06-Jun-18
Author: Elise Catterall

The owners of Parliament on King, Ravi Prasad and Della Zhang © Parliament on King

The owners of Parliament on King, Ravi Prasad and Della Zhang

Welcome to the first of what we hope to be a long running column from copywriter and eco-warrior Elise Catterall. She'll be covering sustainability news from a personal perspective and showing how everyday Aussies can take part in positive environmental action.

I had the pleasure of visiting Parliament on King, a lovely, ethically-run café and caterer on King St in Newtown, after Planet Ark engaged them to provide sustainable catering.

First impressions are everything, as they say, and my first impression was warmth.  Even before one of the owners, Ravi, greeted us, the overwhelming feeling the café (which is essentially a room in his home) gives is one of welcome.  And after spending time with Ravi over an amazing cup of coffee, that feeling is amplified.

That sense of welcome is more than just a feeling though; it is the entire premise of Parliament on King.  Owners Ravi and Della say that the café’s primary mission is to simply make lovely food, but it is the way they do that that sets them apart from all the other cafés in this coffee saturated suburb.  

In reality, Parliament on King is a social enterprise – a café and catering service provided by asylum seekers and refugees in partnership with local Australians.  It seeks to provide a place where asylum seekers and refugees – and everyone else, for that matter – feel valued and welcome. What it also provides is training and work experience in the basics of hospitality, food preparation, food service, barista skills, and more for the asylum seeker and refugees.  

In the nearly four years that Parliament on King has been running their training and job experience program, nearly 300 people have been trained. Many of those were able to secure their first jobs in Australia as a result. The café has been honoured with a humanitarian award in recognition of these good works.  

Their good works further continue through their efforts to support the local homeless.  They have a ‘pay it forward’ jar for coffees and will soon run an initiative to provide food to those in need by asking customers to add a little extra to their bill to offset the costs of making the food.

The café is clearly agitating for change through love. With its preloved books (for purchase) lining the walls, its quirky and comfy seating (including a reclaimed church pew), a Ducati tucked in the corner and a Vespa perched out the front, a door covered with polaroids of customers/friends (they feel like one and the same) and flyers for their poetry readings, life drawing classes and local ‘family dinner’ events, the space is comforting, happy, homely and authentic.  

And as fabulous as all this sounds, there is another important feature – their event food.  Described as home style, the food represents the countries of origin of the chefs – Burma, Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan – and it is locally sourced, vegetarian or vegan, and absolutely made with love.

You can do your bit to support Parliament on King, their team and the local community by visiting the café at 632 King Street, Newtown, reading more about them at their website, and by using their delicious catering services.

See you next week! - Elise

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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes. 


Elise                                             Catterall
Author: Elise Catterall

Elise is a writer, photographer, and naturopath with a passion for nature. She completed a Master of Public Health in 2017 through the University of Sydney. Her photographic work focuses on flowers and plants as a way of celebrating nature. She has been writing for Planet Ark since 2017, sharing positive environment stories, personal environmental experiences and perspectives.

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