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Community Cookery School Provides Food Education In Ash Vale

Published on: 28 Jun, 2021
Updated on: 10 Jul, 2021

Community cooks in Ash Vale have been teaching people to cook healthy, balanced and affordable meals as part of Tesco’s Community Cookery School, in partnership with Jamie Oliver and food redistribution charity FareShare.

The second phase of the cookery school was launched earlier this year to help train community cooks in delivering helpful and practical cooking skills to families in their communities.

Katie Strudwick and her daughter Skye, who are among those who have benefited from the scheme.

Easy recipes such as veggie chilli, tinned salmon fishcakes with veggie slaw, and veggie soup with eggy muffins encouraged people to add more vegetables to their everyday meals.

Because of pandemic restrictions, the virtual lessons were streamed online, with the lessons developed and delivered by Jamie Oliver-trained community cooks and nutritionists.

Among the cooks taking part were those at the Ash Vale Chapel. They taught 15 people, who could then share their new-found knowledge with others.

Alex Sanderson, project manager at the Ash Vale Chapel, said: “We have all enjoyed the cooking school on Zoom immensely.

“Reverend Neil Lambert is an expert on Zoom, having spent a year running church online, and his skills at engaging people and cooking for the masses are a match made in heaven.

“Our participants ranged from very experienced community cooks who were there to explore new recipes and encourage others, to some total novices who found the experience both educational and confidence-building.

“Feedback has been wonderful – so much so that we hope to raise some funds and teach more nutrition education and cooking later this year.”

The courses covered knife skills and basic nutrition, as well as offering recipes that can be adapted to complement a wide variety of foods typically donated to food banks.

Oonagh Turnbull, Tesco’s head of health campaigns, said: “We’re so proud to have provided food education, inspiration and support to vulnerable families across the UK over the last few months. The past year has highlighted the need to focus on nutrition and it’s great to have played a part in supporting healthier communities.”

The cookery school initiative launched in 2019 with the aim of training 1,000 community cooks how to make meals with food typically donated by Tesco, while avoiding food waste – a target which was achieved by January 2020.

Katherine Hale, food education manager at the Jamie Oliver Group, said: “This year’s programme is focused on the importance of cooking balanced meals from scratch by offering ideas and recipes to increase the use of fruit and veg in everyday meals.

Lindsay Boswell, chief executive at FareShare, added: “The cookery school has offered cooks an excellent opportunity to further their knowledge and provided inspiration for new meals they can make using food they receive through FareShare. It resulted in thousands of families across the UK learning about the importance of nutrition.”

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