Two community cooks from Open Door Baptist Church in Harris Street, Millfield, have learned how to make the most of surplus food donations and minimise food waste after taking part in the Tesco Community Cookery School with Jamie Oliver,
Open Door Baptist Church is one of 7,000 charities and community groups to receive free surplus food from Tesco stores via food distribution charity Fareshare under the supermarket’s Community Food Connection scheme.
The cookery school, launched in January of this year, helps to provide community cooks - such as Carol Knight and Helal Almsawet - with the food knowledge to make use of whatever is in the donations that arrive at their kitchen door, whether it is a bumper donation of seasonal produce or more unexpected ingredients.
During the course cooks learn everything from knife skills and nutrition to recipes for versatile base sauces which can be adapted to compliment a wide variety of donated food. Training is free and attendees receive cooking equipment, plus a folder of Jamie’s Oliver’s recipes.
Speaking after completing the course, Carol said: “Thanks to Tesco we have been able to feed around 200 people per week, including families with children who receive the food. The cookery school has made us far better equipped to produce nutritious meals using the vegetables donated by Tesco.
“The course has not only built our confidence levels but has also helped us to develop new skills that we’ve been able to pass onto others. Having met people on the course who are also doing their best to feed some of the most vulnerable in society I no longer feel isolated.
“The food we receive from Tesco is a lifeline to multiple people in unpredictable circumstances, and I’d strongly urge other local community groups to apply.”
Jamie Oliver said: “This is exactly what this programme is all about – learning new skills in the kitchen that can be passed on, all while helping to fight food waste.
“We want to give loads more amazing community cooks the confidence to create delicious, balanced meals from food that would otherwise have been thrown away. It’s about empowering charities with the knowledge and tools they need to help those who need it the most.”
Tesco development chef Martyn Lee said: “Tesco has donated more than 60 million meals’ worth of surplus food to date, but it wouldn’t have reached those in need of a good meal were it not for local community cooks like Carol and Helal.
“I hope that they took away a lot from the course and will put their new-found cooking knowledge to good use, while continuing their great work at Open Door Baptist Church.”