Lentil As Anything aims to provide food without borders: without borders of race or gender, finance or social status.

Lentil As Anything restaurants and grocery store have no set prices. Everyone is welcome to come for a meal and contribute in any way they can. Some people volunteer their time in the kitchen or on the floor, others leave a financial donation in one of the contribution boxes. All leave with the feeling that they are part of an inclusive community.

We call ourselves a human race, but it’s not a race. It’s not a competition. I prefer the term human kind. It implies kindness. We share an affinity. There is a richness that awaits us and it relies on our ability to embrace and be open to each other.
— -Shanaka Fernando

Pathways to employment

Many of the people you see working at Lentil As Anything are volunteers. Members of the community who volunteer for a meal, to learn hospitality skills, or improve their social or language skills. The under-employed, the homeless, refugees and the disenfranchised are all given an equal opportunity to gain skills and help their fellow humans at Lentil As Anything.

What we've achieved

  • Created a 100% vegan catering service in Victoria.

  • A pay-as-you-feel grocery store using rescued food.

  • Turned all four restaurants and grocery store vegan.

  • Launched Open Space, a pay-as-you-feel events space for community initiatives.

  • A professional barista course for refugees and asylum seekers.

  • Successfully initiated LAA in New South Wales.

Shanaka Fernando

Shanaka Fernando is the founder of Lentil as Anything. Originally from Sri Lanka, Shanaka opened the first Lentil As Anything in 2000 and has been increasingly involved in projects addressing social justice issues. In 2007 Shanaka was awarded Australia’s Local Hero/Social Challenger at Australian of the Year Awards. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and four children.