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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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Cookery School Cooking Courses News

Celebrity Chef Earns Victory In His Ethical Fishing Crusade

In the most significant reform of the fishing industry for almost forty years, fisherman will be prohibited from throwing dead fish back into the sea.

Maria Damanaki, the EU Fisheries Commissioner, announced in July last year that the controversial practice which results in millions of tonnes of perfectly edible fish being wasted each year due to quota rules – will be phased out.

The announcement has been seen as a victory for celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who’s much talked about ‘Fish Fight’ crusade, which called for more ethical fishing, attracted more than 700,000 supporters and forced the matter in to the public eye.

Fearnley-Whittingstall explained that the current method is bankrupt, a fact that is demonstrated by the mandatory discarding of four million tonnes of fish each year. His campaign attracted many celebrity supporters including Stephen Fry, Ricky Gervais and Richard Branson.

The EU Commission has assured fisherman that the new rules will mean that they can once again enjoy a ‘decent living’, explaining that the planned reform of the quota policy would return fish stocks to sustainable levels within four years.

Damanaki claimed that we need to act now to ensure that all of our fish stocks return to a sustainable level for both existing and future generations. Fisherman should continue to fish and be rewarded with decent earnings, but only under this important precondition.

Under the current system fisherman can throw back as much as eighty per cent of their entire catch either because of the quota rules or because the fish isn’t the right size. If the new system is adopted then fisherman will be required to land their catch in full.

Member of the European Parliament will have twelve months to consider the proposals before they are adopted as law in the new year.

Fearnley-Whittingstall is probably best known for the River Cottage television series which focused on his attempts to become a self sufficient smallholder in rural Dorset.

He is divides his time between a number of different projects including television, journalism and real food campaigning. He also owns the River Cottage Cookery School at Park Farm which provides cookery courses with an emphasis on simple dishes and seasonal ingredients.

 

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Cooking Courses News

Chefs Association To Launch Nationwide Cookery Courses

The Craft Guild of Chefs plans to launch a range of nationwide cookery courses aimed at families, following a series of successful trials in Herford.

The association, in partnership with Zuidam and Premier Foods, recently held a trail course at Simon Balle School. Children were joined by their parents for a practical cookery course which focused on the fundamentals of cooking.

The course featured Matt Owens, an executive chef at Zuidam, and Mark Rigby, one of the senior chefs at Premier Foods. They each demonstrated their cookery skills and were on hand to answer questions.

These trials have proved so popular that the association now plans to launch the ‘family food appreciation’ courses nationwide in the New Year.

Owens explained that in the past, chefs have volunteered their time to enter schools and teach the children about cooking and food. Whilst these sessions have been well received by the children, the message regarding healthy eating is often lost since the children end up eating junk food at home.

This is one of the main reasons that the courses focus on educating the entire family.

Rigby claimed that most people tend to only think about food when they are hungry and don’t really contemplate planning meals. This tends to result in unhealthy snacking. He was also quick to point out that eighty per cent of children with obese parents will become obese themselves.

Every school that signs up will offered up to four cooking courses each year, which will be scheduled to coincide with the availability of seasonal produce.

If the school does not contain suitable facilities then the association will work with local firms to secure an alternative venue.

For more information on the cooking courses please visit www.craftguildofchefs.org

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Cookery School News

Cookery School Joins Forces With Queen Margaret University

The Edinburgh New Town Cookery School has joined forces with Queen Margaret University in a deal which will see first year students from the university complete almost 90 hours in the cookery school’s kitchens.

The businesswoman behind the cookery school, Fiona Burrell, is keen to position the company as a professional choice for those Scots looking to pursue a career in the food industry.

Burrell opened the cookery school during December 2009 having previously worked for 12 years in London at the prestigious Leiths School of Food & Wine.

After a difficult first year the school has seen a big change in 2011. It has taught a number of professionals looking to retrain and its short cookery courses on topics such as baking, curries and French cuisine has also proved very popular.

The corporate hospitality sessions are also becoming more popular and Burrell is hoping that the deal with the university will help to establish Edinburgh New Town as a venue renowned for quality training.

The cookery school is based in Edinburgh city centre in a venue which spans five floors and offers fantastic views of the Firth of Forth. It adopts a professional and practical approach that aims to equip student with the skills required to cook with confidence.

The school offers a wide range of cookery courses with something to suit every level of ability, from homemakers to chefs and food enthusiasts to students.