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Press Release | 1 month ago

The second phase of Tesco’s Community Cookery School, in partnership with Jamie Oliver and FareShare, launches this month to help train community cooks in delivering helpful and practical food education to families in their communities.

The program aims to train 300 community cooks, such as those who operate food banks or charity kitchens, to teach families how to cook simple, balanced and delicious recipes. Following the training, the community cooks will teach at least 15 people in their local community how to cook balanced meals, ultimately reaching 4,500 people between February and May 2021.

The first of the virtual lessons will be streamed live on Monday 22 February, with two further sessions planned in April and May. Developed by Tesco development chefs, Jamie Oliver-trained community cooks and nutritionists, the course covers knife skills and basic nutrition whilst also offering flexible recipes which can be adapted to complement a wide variety of typically donated food. Crucially the program will teach participants how to effectively pass-on these skills to others.

Training is absolutely free, and participants will receive funding to purchase food and any cooking equipment to take part. Printed lesson plans and recipes will also be available on the training program’s website.

The cookery school initiative launched in 2019 with the aim of training 1,000 community cooks – a target which was achieved by January 2020. The programme was developed in partnership with Tesco’s Health Ambassador Jamie Oliver and food distribution charity FareShare, and sought to provide recipes and skills to make the most of the food typically donated to charities such as tinned food and store cupboard ingredients. This year’s campaign 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.

Although the 2019 lessons were carried out in Tesco’s own community kitchen, the ongoing pandemic means that this year’s initiative will be delivered virtually in line with government guidelines. This approach allows the campaign to continue for community cooks, and the families they reach, in 2021.

Sue Couter, Community Programme and Charities Manager, said: “I’m thrilled to be working closely again with FareShare and Jamie Oliver to help families with the support, guidance and inspiration needed to make balanced and affordable everyday meals. Now more than ever, nutrition is so important – and small additions or swaps can make a big difference.”

Katherine Hale, Food Education Manager at Jamie Oliver Group, said: “The community cooks we work with are incredible lifelines to their communities, and it’s our great privilege to support them in the best way we know how – by passing on our knowledge. This past year has shown all of us how important eating well is and sharing our skills with those who can make a difference to hundreds of others is an incredibly powerful thing.”

Lindsay Boswell, Chief Executive at FareShare, said: “It is wonderful to be working with Tesco and Jamie Oliver again on this exciting new version of the Community Cookery School. We received fantastic feedback from chefs that previously attended the school. These sessions will help these community cooks pass their knowledge on to families in their communities and will have a direct benefit in providing nutritious, hot meals to vulnerable people.”