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New Cookery Nook café opens its doors in time for Christmas

The Cookery Nook team stand together outside the Cookery Nook Cafe for its grand opening.

Mercy Community’s Cookery Nook café and catering service is celebrating new beginnings today, with the opening of a second Brisbane site.

The latest enterprise, at Lutheran Services’ Alondra Residences, in Nundah, offers the fresh, mouth-watering meals we all know and love – and a space for people to catch up with friends and relatives.

Cookery Nook’s commercial kitchen has been operating at Mercy Community’s Nudgee Corporate Office since the 1970s, providing meaningful employment for people with intellectual disabilities who may not have access to mainstream job opportunities.

What’s more, all profits go directly to Mercy Community’s Disability Services.

Mercy Community CEO Justin Lorenz said the second café was a welcome addition.

“Mercy Community and Cookery Nook break down barriers and create a supportive environment that cultivates the potential in everyone living with a disability,” he said.

“By partnering with Lutheran Services, we believe the new Cookery Nook location will have a transformative impact on the lives of everyone involved.”

Lutheran Service Australia CEO Nick Ryan and Mercy Community Services CEO Justin Lorenz celebrated the opening and the organisation's partnership.

Cookery Nook at Alondra Residences has already created employment for up to 14 people.

By creating a safe and nurturing work environment, the enterprise facilitates skills development, boosts self-confidence, and fosters a sense of belonging.

Mercy Community’s Nathan Russell has been a Production Assistant at Cookery Nook for 20 years and is now enjoying a new front-of-house role leading the café team at Alondra Residences.

Cookery Nook team members Katsuyuki, Ashleigh and Regina were busy providing coffees and snacks.

He’s hoping to inspire a new generation of bakers, cooks and hospitality staff, opening career pathways for people with a disability.

“Cookery Nook is a great place to work that has really helped me grow my self-esteem, confidence and sense of purpose,” said Nathan.

“Everyone is really friendly and supportive. If anyone ever needs help, we are there for each other.

“We’re all passionate about food and are dedicated to serving the local community.”

CEO Justin Lorenz with Nathan Russell who is celebrating 20 years of employment with Cookery Nook.

Nathan studied hospitality at high school and started at Cookery Nook following an apprenticeship at Baker’s Delight.

“It’s great to see staff at the new Cookery Nook being offered the same opportunities I had.

“The new skills, experience, and confidence they’ll gain with us will be a valuable stepping-stone to other work in the hospitality industry and beyond.”

To learn more about Cookery Nook, please visit cookerynook.com.au.

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