Wigan Youth Zone cook learns to avoid food waste with celebrity chef's training scheme
A cook at Wigan Youth Zone is taking part in a celebrity chef’s training scheme to stop edible food going to landfill.
Robyn Jones, the catering manager at the Parson’s Walk facility, and head of engagement Andy Nicholls went to London for specialist tuition at Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food on making healthy and exciting meals from surplus ingredients.
Other news: Wigan high-rise fire risk alertThe youth zone is one of two in the North West among the first in Britain to sign up for the Tesco Community Cookery School, which eventually wants to train more than 1,000 community chefs across Britain to reduce food waste.
Wigan Youth Zone already receives surplus groceries from the supermarket giant through charity FareShare each week and the course gives Robyn and her team in the kitchens more ideas on what to do with them.
Robyn said: “We’re extremely lucky to receive such generous donations of surplus food with the support from Tesco and FareShare, it helps us feed hundreds of young people each week here in the café.
“The Tesco Community Cookery School will also allow myself and the team to maximise our ingredients and make even more fresh, exciting and varied meals for our members.
“We’ve had a lot of support already from Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food, with cookery classes delivered to our members here in the Youth Zone – this course is yet another way we can have a positive impact on our young people’s diets.”
During the intensive day of learning with the team at the ministry set up by the well-known TV chef Robyn learned everything from improved knife skills to creating versatile base sauces to accompany a whole range of donated produce to advice on nutrition.
The course showed her and the other participants how to transform the ingredients most commonly found in the surplus packages into an array of dishes to tantalise the tastebuds.
The cooks taking part also received some free kitchen equipment and a folder featuring surplus food recipes devised by Jamie himself.
It is not the first time the youth zone has teamed up with the Ministry of Food, with a number of employees previously doing eight-week training courses with the organisation.
The cafe at Wigan Youth Zone serves around 600 young people each week, with the low-priced meals proving an attractive option to around 75 per cent of the children coming through the doors.
The youth zone is committed to making sure children who visit have access to a healthy, hot meal each evening.
The donations are also a boost for the charity as it enables them to keep prices in the cafe low so the food is affordable even to youngsters from cash-strapped families.
For more information about the facility visit www.wiganyouthzone.org