It’s very important to teach children how to cook and to learn about food as they do so. Children are exposed to lots of food choices but in most cases they are not informed enough to make the best choices. Cooking Clubs can help children to make those healthy choices. The long term benefit of learning how to cook at school age are immeasurable. Children are eager to learn and will carry that learning about cooking and food with them for the rest of their lives.
Let’s Get Cooking (designed and promoted via the Children’ Food Trust) is a programme designed to improve people’s cooking skills, initially set up with a focus on schools. It is the largest national network of cooking clubs in the UK and has been delivered in over 5,000 schools and community groups across England. Since being set up in 2007 Let’s Get Cooking has expanded to include community “pop up” cooking sessions, online resources for home cooking, cooking classes in Further Education and at work based skills sessions and much more. Let’s Get Cooking Clubs have been a bedrock for learning in schools over the last few years, as testified to here:
I’ve tried a lot of new foods that I didn’t think I would like. We made a vegetable pasta and I never liked peppers and mushrooms until I cooked them myself and it was really tasty. Cooking club has given me a lot of skills I never thought I could do before. When I grow up and have children of my own I’ll be able to feed them home-cooked meals and teach them to cook myself. A lot of parents have to go to McDonald’s but I’ll be able to make home cooked meals for my children. I would tell other children to try cooking club because it’s really good fun and it’s good to try all these new foods and learn all the new skills.
Lola, pupil, aged nine
From my experience with my daughters, cooking club has really increased their confidence, when they come home from school they want to cook. It makes them feel happier about trying a wider range of foods that they wouldn’t normally eat. I think it’s a really good thing for children to learn how to cook, it’s a great life skill. It gives them independence, they can then go into the kitchen and they can make things for themselves. It also gives them knowledge about where food comes from. They get to see what goes into the food. It’s really good for them to understand what is good and what is bad for their bodies and that actually healthy food can be tasty and really good for them.
Rose Eacock, mum to 10-year-old twins Martha and Esther
Let’s Get Cooking patron Prue Leith
In late 2017 the Children’s Food Trust took the sad decision to close the doors on its Let’s Get Cooking Provision. Many of the 2500 clubs set up over recent years are continuing and thriving however and thanks to this excellent foundation the British Dietetic Association (BDA) will be taking over responsibility for the Let’s Get Cooking programme and the online Learning Network. The Learning Network is a website containing online training courses to help improve children’s food, some of which are accredited by professional bodies. Courses include increasing school meal take up teaching practical cooking skills, providing a healthy diet for under-fives, and much more.
Expect more details to follow in due course from the BDA.