Story by Tim Hirst

Issue Date: 10/07/2009

A Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food is to be set up in Bradford city centre later this year to help people learn to cook with seasonal and local produce. Bradford Council has successfully bid for £80,000 from Local Government Yorkshire and Humber to set up the healthy eating centre in John Street – only the second one in the country – and the Council has agreed to provide £120,000 towards the annual running costs.

Support is also being sought from other partners including NHS Bradford and Airedale and Bradford College. Council leader Coun Kris Hopkins, said: “I met Jamie last year when he set up his first Ministry of Food in Rotherham and he really does inspire people to get cooking and change their whole outlook and lifestyle. “He did a 'Pass It On' demonstation to a group of teenagers at one of our healthy living centres and the kids just loved him. Cafe West at Allerton is still doing these demos nearly a year on and young people are passing on what they learnt.

“I'm sure this Ministry of Food Centre will have a big impact on the district and anything that can be done to improve the health of the district's residents and combat obesity should be welcomed. “It will help improve skills, aspiration and enterprise through links with catering courses and this will help in the regeneration of the district.”

Jamie Oliver said: “It's fantastic news that Bradford Council have agreed a Ministry of Food in your beautiful city. The continuing success of the Ministry Centre in Rotherham has proved to me that there are hundreds of thousands of people across Britain who desperately want to learn to cook but have never had the chance. “Now, Bradford has taken a huge step forward and I hope that the good people of Bradford and the surrounding area feel that the Ministry of Food is a place where they can feel welcome, drop in any time for food advice as well as learning a few delicious meals along the way.”

The Rotherham Ministry of Food has proved a big success. Courses are run there from Monday to Friday and at the weekend the tutors go out to schools and community centres and community groups where they do public demonstrations and Pass It On sessions. A 10 week course starts with how to boil an egg and finishes with the perfect Sunday roast. Students will learn about the correct way to chop, fry, bake, roast, kitchen hygiene, salt and sugar intake, nutrition, the importance of five fruit or vegetables a day and get other advice on how to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Camilla Cameron, Campaigns Manager for Jamie Oliver, said: “Rotherham Ministry of Food is a huge success story. More than 1,000 young people have taken part in Pass It On in Rotherham and the two teachers running the project are doing 20 classes a week and going out to the community at the weekends. “It has changed many people's lives not just because they can now cook but because it has given them the confidence to go out and do something with their lives, be it taking part in amateur dramatics for the first time to volunteering to work with disabled people. We're delighted to have Bradford on board.”

It is hoped that Braford's Ministry of Food will open in October.

For more information contact Tim Hirst, assistant director for Commercial and Support Services, on 01274 434823 or Coun Kris Hopkins, Council Leader, on 01274 432069.

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