JAMIE Oliver has sent his famed Ministry of Food Mobile Kitchen to Belmont to teach residents how to cook good tasting, healthy meals.
Recipes and training techniques designed by the celebrity chef will be taught over a seven-week course of one 90min class per week for up to 12 people. Holding several classes a day including Saturday’s, it’s a mammoth job for nutritionist Marie Fitzpatrick and her fellow Ministry of Food qualified trainers.
“We want to be available to anyone above the age of 12 so people who may not normally get the opportunity, or those from low-socio-economic areas, can learn how eating well doesn’t have to mean eating expensive,” Fitzpatrick said.
Classes focus on teaching knife skills, choosing and cooking fresh food using simple recipes, portion sizing and tips on how to stretch the food budget without sacrificing on taste or health.
The course has been independently evaluated by Deakin and Melbourne Universities, who found that participants increased their vegetable intake and decreased spending on take-away foods.
Fitzpatrick says classes are heavily subsidised to keep prices reasonable.
Sponsors include Woolworth’s, who will provide the fresh food and ingredients, The Good Guys in Belmont and the Good Foundation, which runs the program. Local volunteers also provide invaluable support.
“It’s a pretty big operation,” said Fitzpatrick.
The mobile kitchen travelled to Western Australia for the first time in February, all the way from Victoria. So far it has run classes in Joondalup and Bunbury.
Jamie’s Mobile Kitchen has entered a three-year partnership with Edith Cowan University. As well as holding classes for students on campus, Masters of Nutrition students can intern at the kitchen, assisting with classes while learning about the link between nutrition, cooking and taste.
Feedback from the public has been overwhelmingly positive.
“I hear it all the time,” Fitzpatrick said
“‘I didn’t realise how simple it is to cook well, how simple and good it is for my family.’”
One recent student claimed to have never boiled an egg in all his 74 years.
“He wanted to learn to cook for his family. Now his wife has had to put her foot down because otherwise he’d take over the kitchen,” said Fitzpatrick.
Following their stint in Belmont the mobile kitchen will head back out into regional WA.
For more information visit www.jamiesministryoffood.com.au