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Jamie snoops on restaurant staff

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has installed CCTV in his restaurant kitchens in a move designed to help ensure that diners receive better quality food.

Jamie recently admitted that he doesn’t have time to visit each of his restaurants and, as a result, the globe trotting chef has resorted to modern technology to give him the capability of inspecting every plate of food that leaves his restaurant kitchens.

The system allows him to closely inspect individual dishes and identify those chefs who aren’t serving the expected quality of food.

The system is the first of its kind and will be installed in Jamie’s restaurants throughout the country. Jamie explained that he has great chefs in all of his restaurants and that the CCTV cameras are a really efficient way of ensuring that quality is maintained.

Security firms have now installed the system in nineteen of Jamie’s twenty three kitchens. The cameras operate at all times with the full knowledge of staff working in the kitchens. Jamie is able to view the live feeds whichever country he’s in, at the click of his mouse.

The footage will also be regularly reviewed by staff at Jamie’s London HQ. His team of executive chefs will conduct quality checks, at random, on his behalf.

Staff have suggested that working in the kitchens will be like being a contestant on Big Brother. Although the cameras will mean that staff will be under observation throughout the day, many are unsurprised at the move, given Jamie’s reputation for high standards.

A spokesperson for MRFS, the CCTV firm who installed the cameras explained that each time a dish leaves the kitchen it will streamed live, in high definition. Jamie and members of his team will then be able to monitor that the food meets the required standard – it could influence the way in which kitchens approach the topic of quality control.

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Food and Ingredients News

Celebrity chefs could do more to reduce food waste

A new study has revealed that the cookery styles encouraged by high profile chefs are unlikely to reduce the nation’s huge amount of food waste generated by British households.

Dr David Evans, a member of the University of Manchester’s Sustainable Consumption Institute, claims that the desire to eat a wide range of meals coupled with the drive to prepare more dishes from scratch can result in more food waste.

Dr Evans studied nineteen Manchester households during the course of eight months in an attempt to understand why the nation throws away over eight million tonnes of food waste each year.

Dr Evans watched people prepare, cook and shop for food and also asked them to discuss the contents of their cupboards, fridges and freezers. He claims that whilst consumers are often blamed for lacking the ability to cook or not caring enough about wasting food, he found nothing in his study to support this view.

The research suggests that people don’t generally need cookery courses but do sometimes find it hard to make use of leftovers. This is particularly true when the family contains are fussy eaters who often prefer established recipes to more improvised meals.

Dr Evans argues that the current volumes of household food waste should be considered as the result of people negotiating the contradictory and complex demands of everyday life. He believes that the pressure from celebrity chefs to eat and cook in certain ways inevitably leads to a greater risk of food waste.

Most food advocated by celebrity chefs is perishable and therefore should be eaten fairly quickly. Our unpredictable leisure schedules and working hours make it more difficult to make best use of the food in our cupboards and fridges.

Dr Evans believes that those with influence including celebrity chefs should recognize the issues and consider how to make it desirable or at least socially acceptable for people to use frozen vegetables or eat the same dish for several consecutive nights.

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News

Young Carers Benefit From Cookery Courses

Young carers from the South Tyneside region have spent the summer holidays acquiring valuable skills at cookery courses arranged by the Cooking for Life project.

Young carers are often required to take on many of the roles traditionally played by parents. These can included completing the weekly shop and preparing meals for the entire family.

Shopping and planning meals on a tight budget can be very challenging so the cooking courses offered to members of South Tyneside’s Young Carers Scheme have been really helpful.

In addition to teaching the youngsters how to cook, the cookery courses also focused on explaining how to use the kitchen equipment, the importance of a balanced diet and also how to stay safe.

Interaction with the group and social skills were also an important aspect of the project. The youngsters were able to relax with friends and enjoy the meal that they had helped to prepare.

Members of the Cooking for Life project have been working with youngsters in the area for the last ten years. A spokeswoman for the project, Joyce Greely explained that the North-East is unfortunately one of the least healthy places in the UK, with rates of cancer, diabetes and heart disease rapidly increasing.

By the time that they leave home, many young people lack basic food knowledge and are unable to prepare simple balanced meals themselves. Many fail to recognise the importance of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Without additional help, this lack of basic skills and unhealthy lifestyle is likely to be passed onto their children. It is for this reason that the Cooking for Life project was established. It aims to teach young people and their families how to prepare great tasting meals that are also cheap, healthy and nourishing.