Last week I had the absolute pleasure of travelling all over the UK visiting five of the “Jamie’s Ministry of Food” Centres . Soon the journey will be complete as I will visit the 6th “Jamie’s Ministry of Food” Centre here in London in Stratford.  It was a busy couple of days but incredibly inspiring as I met some wonderful trainers at each centre and I also got to learn more about the students who attend the classes. My adventure started in the Ministry of Food Centre in Bradford and as we arrived the trainer Sara (in the main picture withe me) was teaching a group of High School students how to make a delicious pizza cooking everything from scratch including the dough. The class were very excited and later I learned that the students were having some learning difficulties at school. Preparing food is a great way to keep kids engaged and Sara did a fantastic job to ensure that the students were learning and having allot of fun along the way.

Ash and Katherine from Jamie’s Ministry of Food – Leeds

The next stop on our tour was to the Ministry of Food Centre in Leeds. As we walked into the centre a group of adults were packing up as they had just finished the class. I spoke to Ash the trainer who was working that day and he let me know that the class that had just finished was made up of students from an adult social care group. Learning to cook at the centre is one of the most important skills that they can learn in order for them to become self sufficient. Whilst I was at the centre I met Katherine a student from the University of Leeds who was volunteering on the day. Katherine said that she started volunteering at the Ministry MOF centre as she was very keen to learn to cook and that being in the kitchen was a welcome refreshing relief from being in the classroom.The trainer Ash started volunteering at the centre as well and then worked for 6 months under a work placement scheme. It was obvious that everyone who works at the Ministry of Food Centre in Leeds is really proud of Ash having successfully trained to be a trainer after his work placement.

The next day we travelled to the Jamie’s Ministry of Food centre that is housed within Alnwick Gardens. This is a beautiful part of the country and the Ministry of Food Centre has a spectacular view over the countryside. I met Maureen who is the trainer at the centre and it was great to hear more about the classes that they run and the reach that they have within the local community in Alnwick including the after school cooking club.

Joanna from Jamie’s Ministry of Food – North East

Next stop was to the Jamie’s Ministry of Food centre in Newcastle where we met the lovely Joanna who runs the centre in the North East. Joanna has a great team there running cooking classes for people in the local community. They work very closely with students from Newcastle University. Joanna and her team are doing a brilliant job at “Keeping cooking skills alive”. On our last day of the tour we visited Rotherham where the Jamie’s Ministry of Food campaign began. When the centre first opened I travelled to Rotherham to help set it up working closely with the trainers and learning more about the classes that are taught. I loved walking back through the doors of the centre and seeing how busy and full the centre was – everyone there to learn more about food. Students from Longley Park College were attending a class and as you will see from the pictures they were really enjoying themselves and were very happy indeed!  Situated in the heart of the mall in the town centre, Jamie’s Ministry of Food not only runs cooking classes it is also a place for locals to meet and socialise and learn more about food.

Students learning to cook at Rotherham

On the train back to London I felt inspired that Jamie’s original vision for the Ministry of Food campaign is being supported every day as a result of the wonderful trainers who work so hard teaching people to cook ay the Food Centres. Jamie says “I want to inspire you to get in the kitchen and cook meals for yourself and your family from scratch, whether you’re a complete beginner or a good cook who likes simplicity. With some basic skills under your belt and a handful of recipes, you’ll be able to prepare nutritious meals on any budget.”Find out more information on Jamie’s Ministry of food here.