Bristol is set to get inspired about food as a new programme Teaching a City to Cook launched yesterday (20 February) alongside a competition to find the city’s Young Cook of the Year.
The programme has been developed with the help of local professional chefs including Josh Eggleton (from Pony and Trap), Adrian Kirikmaa (St Monica’s Trust() and Barny Haughton (Square Food Foundation) to encourage young people to eat more healthily.
Adrian said: ‘I’m really proud to be a part of this exceptional project, food brings so many different positives to our lives, whether it be eating, well-being or a career in hospitality. Myself, Josh and Barny have talked about this for some time now and it’s fantastic to actually start going into schools and inspiring young people with seasonal, nutritious food. We are also launching The School of Food and hope to encourage as many young people as possible into a vibrant and exciting career.”
Josh said: “For me I want to do as much as I can to ignite a spark that encourages as many people as possible to cook - both in the industry and at home. Understanding the importance of nutrition and seasonality is really simple and it’s brilliant to actually be able to have the opportunity to do this.”
The aim of Teaching a City to Cook is to educate and encourage Bristol’s young people to cook for themselves using fresh, seasonal food. A new digital support toolkit will be available from today for teachers and community groups to use, and will include videos from BBC’s Good Food website with recipes to enable students to practice their new skills.
Currently Bristol has the highest level of tooth decay (at nearly 30%) in the South West and higher than average levels of childhood obesity with nearly a third of children aged 10 to 11 years old carrying excess weight (PHE 2018 figures). Both these conditions are associated with a poor diet and can lead to long term health problems later in life, but are entirely preventable.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said “We want to make sure all our children have the best start in life. A healthy diet is a key part of helping to improve both our physical health and mental wellbeing. It can also be a major factor in health inequalities which are present around the city.
“Understanding how we can use seasonal raw ingredients to create a healthy meal will demonstrate that healthy eating doesn’t have to break the bank.
“By bringing on board professional chefs from around the city I hope that we will be able to inspire a new generation of cooks who are able to make affordable and nutritious meals and fuel their own ambitions.”
Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, the Girl Guides and some schools have already signed up to take part in the scheme to support their young people and to link with local professional chefs, who can provide some expert advice.
Bob Smith, Strength and Conditioning coach for Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, said: "We place a significant emphasis on nutritional intake for the players at Gloucestershire Cricket. We try to seek the majority of our nutrition through diet rather than sports supplements and advise a diverse range of vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and dairy.
“The better prepared the team are in the kitchen, the better prepared they will be for a long summer of cricket"
Teaching a City to Cook links to Sugar Smart Bristol, a programme which has been running in the city for the past year to educate local people about the dangers of sugary food in partnership with the Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Cross cultural elements of the Teaching a City to Cook programme were created in partnership with the 91 Ways local initiative.
The programme will lead up to the Young Cook Awards later in the year which will provide an opportunity for children in years 6, 7 and 8 to put into practice the new skills that they’ve learnt in a competition. Young adults between the ages 15 and 17 years will have an opportunity to apply their cooking skills for the Young Apprentice Award. Winners from both of these competitions will be announced during Food Connections week in June.
Find out more about the programme and download lesson plans from the Live Well website: www.bristol.gov.uk/youngcooks