Community Cookery School Provides Food Education to Thousands across London


Over the last few months, community cooks across London have been teaching people to cook healthy, balanced and affordable meals as part of Tesco’s Community Cookery School, in partnership with Jamie Oliver and food redistribution charity FareShare.

The second phase of the Community Cookery School was launched earlier this year to help train community cooks in delivering helpful and practical cooking skills to families in their communities. Easy recipes like veggie chilli, tinned salmon fishcakes with veggie slaw, and veggie soup with eggy muffins encouraged the addition of more vegetables into everyday scratch meals.

Because of pandemic restrictions, the virtual lessons were streamed online from February to May, with the lessons developed and delivered by Jamie Oliver-trained community cooks and nutritionists.

The courses covered knife skills and basic nutrition, as well as offering recipes that can be

adapted to complement a wide variety of foods typically donated to food banks.

Oonagh Turnbull, Tesco Head of Health Campaigns, said: “We’re so proud to have provided food education, inspiration and support to vulnerable families across the UK over the last few months. The past year has highlighted the need to focus on nutrition and it’s great to have played a part in supporting healthier communities.”

The cookery school initiative launched in 2019 with the aim of training 1,000 community cooks how to make meals with food typically donated by Tesco, while avoiding food waste – a target which was achieved by January 2020.

Sarah Chambers, from Oaks and Acorns In Harmony in Lewisham said;

“In total, we trained 17 people who all really enjoyed the simplicity of the recipes, and the ease that you can swap the ingredients with whatever you already have in your fridge and cupboards. The onsite cooking workshop was a great addition to our usual activities and allowed us the opportunity to enjoy the process of cooking and eating a meal together.”

Shevan James, Family Support Worker and Community Cook at Loughborough Community Centre said;

“The project enabled the group of parents to try new recipes and to be more nutritiously adventurous with their family meals.

“It was great to see and hear about how the parents have incorporated the new recipes learnt at home. We had a group of 15 participate in the cooker school in total, 5 were new mums with babies under 1 born during the pandemic. We’ve had hugely positive feedback from the mums who thought the cookery schools were a fantastic experience!”