Jamie's Ministry of Food

Our First Year Celebration: Mayor's Newham Show, Olympic Torch bearer Cook-Off and Longhorn Cows

Thu 04th Oct 2012 09:04 | Back

Jamie's Ministry of Food Stratford celebrated its one-year anniversary at the Newham Mayor's Show with an unforgettable series of events and new collaborations under the umbrella Food Nation Adventures. Having started off our work at last year's show with a small marquee a bit of rain and in fantastic spirits � the Ministry of Food Stratford returned in style with the Olympic Torchbearer's Cook-Off, butter-making and flour grinding workshops, food tastings, cooking demonstrations - not to mention a bigger tent and beautiful longhorn cows! 

Food Nation Adventures marks a new partnership between the Ministry of Food Stratford, Leaside Food, the Young Farmers Federation and Natural England. It brings together the multicultural urban influences of the Olympic borough of Newham, a borough in which 100 different languages are spoken (and as many culinary traditions practiced!); the Ministry of Food's expertise in cooking delicious, simple and healthy meals; the Young Farmer's commitment to growing great British food; and Natural England's care for the environment. This collaboration helps to highlight and celebrate all stages of the food cycle - how they affect us and what a huge difference they make to the quality of our lives. 

We were demonstrating something which touches the daily lives of all Newham residents � sometimes in unexpected ways! How to cook delicious food in a simple way, how is a whole lamb transformed into the joints of meat you find in shops? What have wildflowers got to do with growing strawberries and apples? How do you make cream turn into butter......and what does a farmer look like? 

We answered all these questions in fun and surprising ways around our Food Nation Adventures. A farming rap video set the tone with it�s infectious beat � no clich�d stereotypes of country bumpkins there! Our longhorn cow, Jet Stream, and her baby calf Megawave attracted a huge number of curious visitors � some of whom had never seen a live cow before, especially one as beautiful as the longhorn. A string of food growing and processing demonstrations let people feel watery cream change to solid butter, hard grains of corn be ground into smooth powdery flour and a handful of soil be formed into a new growing bed for herbs and vegetables. Meanwhile, a lamb on a spit sent its mouth-watering aromas around the Show. Young children were our best customers as they were unafraid to ask the questions their parents wanted to know and happy to try new things.

Newham Mayor�s Show was the biggest yet this year, with the finale of the Blue Peter Olympic tour taking place at the Show and the Olympic torch relay drawing more visitors than ever. As the Olympic flame crossed the Thames into Newham, we launched a fantastic "cook-off" between Tom Collinson, the Young Farmers Olympic Torchbearer, and Sandeep Channa, our very own Ministry of Food Torchbearer. Both had to improvise a tortilla/Spanish omelette, choosing from a variety of ingredients prepared by the Ministry�s team. 

Judging the tortillas for taste, appearance and speed were the Mayor of Newham, the Chair of Natural England, and two girls from a local primary school - who went from winning the Ministry�s school Cook-Off �Finding a little Jamie Oliver in Newham� to judging this Cook-Off, and even giving a very professional cooking demonstration later on in the Show. 

The Ministry of Food training clearly paid off with Sandeep winning the cook-off, but top marks to Tom for courage - we only learned afterwards that it was his first professional cooking competition!

Other cooking demonstrations included an inspirational young East Ham chef graduated from Jamie Oliver�s restaurant Fifteen who demo a mouthwatering scallops recipe. Meanwhile, our head Chef Rosanna Bluett joined the Deputy Mayor of Newham and Natural England in judging the Village Fete 'Best in Show' fruit & veg competition. 

Jamie�s Ministry of Food Stratford�s participation in the Newham Mayor�s Show, and our collaboration with other local organisations, demonstrated how the Ministry has found a place at the heart of the Newham community, and how we are becoming a hub for community interaction, with our friends at Abbey Gardens providing Newham-grown fruit and veg for our recipes and displays from their own community garden. 

It was a fantastic way to conclude a hugely successful first year of our Ministry of Food Stratford, which forged new friendships between urban foodies and countryside farmers � a collaboration which we hope will continue to grow and enrich our relationship with what we eat and where it comes from and will directly contribute to an Olympic Legacy for the people of Newham.  

What our friends said on our first year anniversary:

"Many Happy Returns to the Ministry of Food, Stratford which has been doing important work in the local community for a year now, ever since the first lesson at the Newham show. Huge thanks to everyone involved for their hard work and support'  Jamie Oliver 

Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales says: "I am delighted to welcome the new Food Nation partnership to the Newham Show and look forward to the partners supporting more fun and adventurous learning activities themed on food and nature for Newham residents in the future�.

" The Food Nation partners should be proud of their work to bring the richness of Britain's farmed environment to life as part of the celebrations for the Olympic flame's arrival in Newham. This has been a great showcase for British Food and British farming and we are delighted to have been able to support the Young Farmers' Clubs on this exciting initiative" said Poul Christensen, Chair of Natural England and President Elect of the National Federation of Young Farmers 

Carlos Montes
Carlos is Director of Leaside Food. Leaside Food runs the Ministry of Food Stratford 

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