Bringing Essential Food Skills to California Communities

Bringing Essential Food Skills To California Communities

Thu 19 Dec 2013

Story by The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA) Team

Since September, our amazing Big Rig – a beast of a mobile kitchen, kitted out with full working kitchen stations, a demo stage and screens has been touring around California educating local communities on why what we eat is so important and teaching essential cooking skills.

The Big Rig has made stops at County Fairs in Madera, LA, Kern and Fresno and has re-visited Fresno and Bakersfield to teach free cooking classes to the community, upcoming are stops for cooking classes in Sacramento, Merced, Los Angeles and San Diego. So far, there have been over 150 classes on board the Big Rig and over 2,060 participants have been taught!

Not only is the Big Rig educating on nutrition and food, and the importance of fuelling our bodies correctly in cooking classes, but it is also training up selected members of the public to become Food Champions. These Food Champions will then keep the legacy alive in their local community once the Big Rig moves on – teaching the skills they have learnt to more and more people to help keep cooking skills alive. From Fresno and Bakersfield there are already 18 Food Champions trained up and ready to start teaching their community some Jamie style recipes and food education.

From families taking classes together, to school students learning to cook for the first time, and retired folks wanting to re-ignite cooking in their community, the Big Rig has seen all walks of life come through the door and leave with a new recipe and skill under their belt. Here’s what some of the participants have to say so far…

“Small class size, so lots of hands-on for each participant. Also, the instructors were great with my kids who also took the class.... patient, thoughtful about delegating jobs. I also loved that the chef that demonstrated for this class was very knowledgeable about local farmer's markets and where and when to get certain foods” – Female, 41-50

“I liked that I got learn how to cook different things. Thanks to the class I make my mom an omelets all the time.” – Male, 17 and under

“Having someone who worked with our small group and could answer our questions was very helpful.” – Male, 51-59

“The bus itself is AMAZING!!! The instructors were friendly, knowledgeable, and efficient. The recipes were great and easy to follow. The food was fresh and tasted great! One instructor demonstrated how to chop with the knife, which I really appreciated--- I need to practice. I had seen this on one of Jamie's videos, but it was good to see it LIVE!” – Female, 60+

“Easy to prepare something that tasted really good!” – Male, 51-59

“I am not a cook at all, and I felt like we had great instruction and step-by-step help so I did not feel out of place! I really enjoyed it and now I am inspired to learn more!” - Female, 41-50

There are loads of great classes available on the Big Rig, from perfect pancakes and the best party food, to DIY pasta sauces and fast food at home. If you are in or near Sacramento, Merced, Los Angeles or San Diego then visit to get the full tour schedule and book your free classes (if classes in your area are not available for registration yet, keep checking back as they will be nearer to the time the Big Rig arrives).

For stories from the Big Rig and images of classes in action follow @joffbigrig on Twitter and Instagram.

Here’s to keeping cooking skills alive on the Big Rig in 2014!

The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA) Team


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