In 2009 after facing redundancy from her job as a psychologist, Denise faced major life changes. Unable to find academic work, spending six months on the dole, Denise fell into debt, became depressed and was forced to rely on her creativity as a chef (she trained when I first left school) in order to feed her family. To cheer herself up she started food writing and opened her house as an ‘underground restaurant’ but lived a mostly ‘freegan’ life surviving on food retrieved from skips and living very cheaply.
She became self-employed setting up her own catering company and found success. While working in the catering industry she became increasingly aware of the food wasted on a daily basis, not just by the supermarkets but also within the catering industry as a whole. In addition, she passionately hated the disparity between those that can and cannot afford good food (good food is a right not a privilege) and the growing numbers of people relying on food banks.
In 2013 / 2014, all of the leftovers from her business were channelled through the local homeless hostel. In October 2014, she heard about The Real Junk Food Project and took a trip to visit Sam Joseph at the Skipchen in Bristol. They had a long chat and the rest is history….
The Bethesda Pay As You Feel Cafe / Caffi Cyfrannu i Rannu was born in February 2015. It was the first PAYF cafe in Wales. Denise now co-ordinates TRJFP network in Wales. She helps and supports those wishing to start their own projects and shares surplus food with those that need it most through a local sharing network.