FoodWorks – community cooking in action
Since the fantastic response to our Crowdfunder campaign last summer, the team has been busy designing the new FoodWorks programme and planning and delivering cooking lessons from Bude to Penzance. Once the summer rush started to slow we were able to begin to get our chefs out of the kitchen and into the community and Fifteen Chef Ben Singleton, who was the face of our Crowdfunder campaign, was the first to volunteer. Ben started at Fifteen as an Apprentice in 2011 and he’s now one of the strongest chefs in our kitchen.
Ben says “I get a kick out of teaching people to cook, especially when they tell you they’ve gone home and cooked and eaten with their families like they’ve never done before”
The Foundation team worked with Jobcentre Plus to recruit the first FoodWorks trainees of the autumn and have so far delivered twelve community cooking sessions to nineteen learners. That’s over 1,100 learner hours for people who’ve previously struggled to engage with any structured activity at all – and feedback has been excellent:
“I have learnt to better budget my money with my shopping and to make better use of my ingredients at home.”
“It has taught me how to make new foods from scratch and given me new skills as well as taught me about sugars and fats in food.”
I’m much more confident in my cooking and much better at budgeting my weekly shop.”
“It has taught me valuable cooking skills that will help save me money.”
“This course has taught me the importance of cooking from scratch and how to accurately check food labels in supermarkets.”
FoodWorks participants have learned vital nutritional information, such as how to make balanced, healthy meal on a budget; how to understand hidden sugars, salts, and recommended daily intakes. Having the basic knowledge has really helped participants to make more informed food choices that will help their overall health and wellbeing.
The practical side of the course has given participants new skills, such as basic knife skills, to enable them to prepare simple, tasty, nutritious meals from scratch.
They’ve learnt how to make meals go further (‘Stretch a chicken!) from how to break down a whole chicken and use each cut economically to make their money go further e.g. chicken curry using legs and thighs, making a soup-stock from the carcass and homemade chicken goujons from the breasts. Each session has helped participants to feel more confident about their cooking, and more confident in themselves too.
Momentum is now building thanks to all of the amazing supporters of our Crowdfunder campaign – we simply couldn’t have got FoodWorks off the ground without your help. The success of the Crowdfunder campaign has enticed other partners to support FoodWorks and we are now winning further backing to enable us to do more. This is just the start of what we believe will be a fantastic programme for all of Cornwall: If you can cook you can do anything!
To find out more about FoodWorks and the Cornwall Food Foundation check out our website: www.cornwallfoodfoundation.org