Their story sparked her first solo project since joining Britain’s Royal Family, and now Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, has made a heartwarming return to visit the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen. The initiative, which is based at the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in West London, was founded after London’s Grenfell Tower tragedy, in which more than 70 lives were lost and hundreds left homeless after a blaze devastated the residence.
After first visiting volunteers and survivors of the disaster, who were using the centre to prepare food for their families, in January, the royal helped craft Together, a cookbook featuring 50 recipes from women who formed the community kitchen. On Wednesday, two months after the charitable publication was first published, the duchess returned to the kitchen to see how the the funds raised by the book are making a difference.
After warmly embracing kitchen co-ordinator Zaheera Sufyaan at the entrance, Meghan was ushered inside where she quickly got stuck into helping prepare dishes. The royal, who is expecting her first child next spring, cradled her baby bump in her apron, which she layered over a burgundy dress and coat by Club Monaco. “It starts from one idea and from this one idea starts so much. I’m so proud of you,” the Duchess of Sussex told a group of women as she cooked, the Daily Mail reports.
Together brings together recipes passed down over generations from families with roots in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean. Supported by The Royal Foundation and published by Penguin Random House, the book has since sold 40,000 copies in the UK, raising £210,000 (SAR/AED 987,000). The funds have enabled the kitchen to open seven days a week, providing food to the elderly, homeless, refugees, and those in women’s shelters, and undergo renovations.
The duchess, who penned the foreword for the cookbook, previously described food and cooking as a way of strengthening communities. “In January 2018, when I was settling into my new home in London, I met a group of women whose community had been affected by the Grenfell Fire,” said Markle in a video shared on the official Kensington Palace Instagram account. “I immediately felt connected to this community kitchen.”
The royal secretly continued her visits to the center over the months, helping found the Hubb Community Kitchen (“Hubb” means love in Arabic). “It is a place for women to laugh, grieve, cry and cook together,” she wrote her foreword. “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.”