Cookery schools can help the UK fight food poverty

Where has this week gone, already? So here we are with our final instalment and summary, considering how cookery courses could get actively involved in the fight against food waste and food poverty in the UK and actively contribute towards food recycling.

So, here are the facts that have led me to my conclusion for the three posts so far this week.

• Looking to Cook is hosting an annual cookery school competition to find the best courses & school across the UK and Eire.
• Cookery schools would have a lot more students if the price was a little more affordable, the cost of the food itself being a major contributory factor.
• Around 4,000,000 people are living in food poverty in the UK
• 6,000,000 tons of edible food is discarded at supply/retail outlets
• There are a million young people aged 16-25 out of work
• Thousands of young people leave home not knowing how to cook
Locanda Locatelli has already paved the way, showing that there is no stigma attached to renowned, Michelin-rated even, cookery schools reaching out to further the FoodCycle cause
• Other organisations, like FoodAware, are already making in-roads with suppliers and rousing their own volunteer network across the UK and Ireland

So, come on cookery awards – let’s see a category for ‘best use of waste food’ added to next year’s event.

Ideally, the way forward would be to create a menu, even a set syllabus, utilising the basic food stuffs that get thrown away on a daily basis. Now, we appreciate that you cannot make demands on what supermarkets discard – if they knew what was going to be surplus in advance, they wouldn’t order that volume in the first place, would they? Unless, of course, there were price-breaks involved based on volume, whereby ordering x amount entitled you to price a, but ordering y amount entitled them to a cheaper price b. But even then, the likelihood is they would order what their forecast tells them they ought.

With FoodCycle, every group has a designated manager to oversee operations; to format any type of menu, it is critical that those managers keep a log of the type of food stuffs that go into their menus, where it comes from and what recipes it is used in once it arrives at the community centres.

With the existing links that Food Aware has, they may even already have access to this information; more about that organisation, tomorrow.

Once that has been collated, cookery courses could offer their services, whether it be a selection of chefs or kitchen space once a week to further their cause, even adding their own ‘brand’ into the recipes. What an opportunity for free advertising!

Imagine, for instance, FoodCycle groups expanding their network to Scotland’s second city, where food poverty and associated disease is rife amongst the poorer communities in Glasgow’s suburbs. Then Nick Nairn Cook School (details on our cookerycourses.co.uk home page), which has premises in both Port of Menteith between Glasgow and Edinburgh and further north in the harder to reach communities in Aberdeen reaching out, offering their services:

FoodCycle Glasgow, supported by Nick Nairn Cook School

How cool would that be? Okay, that is perhaps the idealistic and simplistic view and it would take a lot of co-operation to make this Utopia a reality. But if just one cookery school accepts the gauntlet, similar to how Locanda Locatelli has already shown us the way, that would be a huge step in the right direction.
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