Rotherham fire station set to host cookery courses

Fire-fighters at a fire station in Rotherham have allowed a local chef from the town’s catering college to use their kitchen to run a series of cookery courses aimed at local residents.

The cooking courses, which will take place in the Fitzwilliam Road station, every Thursday evening for a period of six weeks, are designed to teach people how to cook delicious healthy meals within the constraints of a tight budget.

The courses will last for two hours and will feature instructions on how to prepare and cook a different family meal each week.

Rotherham’s Metropolitan Borough Council is funding the initiative whilst the supermarket giant Asda has kindly agreed to donate all the required ingredients.

Those residents that attend the cookery courses also will be offered advice and suggestions, where required about how to go about gaining employment within the food industry. In addition, fire fighters at the fire station have agreed to offer participants advice about how they can protect their homes from the dangers of fire.

A spokesman explained that it is hoped that the scheme will give the people of Rotherham the skills required to cook healthy nutritional dishes within the confines of a budget and, as a result, help them to live a much healthier lifestyle.

It is hoped that the additional fire safety advice will also help to ensure that the participants feel more comfortable and confident in the kitchen.

A spokesman for Asda explained that the company was proud to be part of the cookery course and is excited to be supporting such a great scheme aimed at teaching local residents how to cook nutritional and healthy food.

Cookery Course News

UK seeks comfort In biscuits

Biscuit sales have increased by more than 20% in the last 5 years according to a new study by market analysis firm Mintel.

Annual sales in 2010 were £2.2billion, with over 50% of the population admitting to appreciating a biscuit with their coffee or tea.

Biscuits are traditionally viewed as a comfort food that people opt for as an inexpensive treat when the more expensive forms of unwinding, such as a night out at the cinema are considered unaffordable.

The study also estimates that the UK market will continue to expand with forecasts predicting a further increase in sales of 15% by 2015.

The figures reveal that almost 90% of the 45 to 54 age band enjoys a biscuit with their tea. This figure is slightly lower for the 16 to 24 age band at 80%.

A spokesperson for Mintel explained the biscuit industry in the UK has profited from consumers reaching for their biscuit tins during the recession, however the inability to appeal to a discerning and younger customer base coupled with higher commodity are threatening the market.

The study also revealed the nation’s top 5 biscuits. Individually wrapped biscuits and half-coated varieties – such as chocolate hob knobs share joint 1st position in the list of the UK’s favourite sweet biscuits – over half of the population has purchased one or other in the last year.

Cookies are the 2nd most popular whilst cream biscuits are ranked third. Wholemeal or Sweetmeal biscuits are 4th most popular while tea biscuits take 5th place.

With sector sales of £468million the market is dominated by “healthier biscuits” such as the lower sugar and diet varieties. These account for a quarter of all sales with sales rising by 16% in the last 2 years.

For those interested in encouraging their children to make biscuits, The Kids Cookery School offers a specialist one day cookery course.

Cookery Courses

Unhealthy diets cost the NHS £12bn every year

A recent study has identified that poor diets cost the NHS almost twice as much as the combined effect of alcohol and cigarettes.

The research, which was conducted by the WHO and Oxford University, concluded that, of the various lifestyle choices, poor diet and obesity now place the biggest economic load on the NHS.

Whilst experts acknowledged that the health risks associated with excess drinking and smoking are high, because a much higher proportion of the population have unhealthy diets, the overall impact on the NHS is much larger.

Whilst the proportion of adults that smoke has fallen by 50% in the last 40 years, the levels of obesity have increased four-fold, with 25% of adults now considered obese.

Poor diet and obesity have been linked to a number of different diseases including, most cancers, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

The problem is being blamed on the erosion of basic cookery skills and an over-reliance on junk food. The average diet now contains excess levels of sugar and fat and this has increased the risk of acquiring many diseases.

For many people, the issue is that they eat too much and this leads to obesity which is related to a variety of health issues. However, there are also those who look healthy and slim, yet the fat and salt content in their diet places them at high risk of heart disease, stroke and other health conditions associated with elevated blood pressure

The research, which was financed by the British Heart Foundation, estimates that the cost of alcohol related diseases is £3.3bn, which is roughly the same as the cost of treatments associated with alcohol.

A spokesperson for the National Obesity Form explained that the staggering cost of managing diseases related to Britain’s poor diets was threatening to breach NHS budgets.

Those looking to improve their cookery skills can book themselves onto a cookery course.


Experts predict a huge rise in obesity

According to a recent forecast the number of Britons classed as obese could rise to a shocking 26 million by the year 2030. The predicted rise is being blamed on an abundance of rich food, a lack of exercise and an unwillingness on the part of policymakers to tackle the problem.

It has been predicted that if the current trend continues, the number of clinically obese people in the United Kingdom will rise by eleven million over the next twenty years.

Experts have estimated that the additional cost of treating the resulting health problems would be around £2 billion per year.

Over the next twenty years, the increase in UK obesity is estimated to result in an extra 461,000 cases of heart disease, 130,000 of cancer and 668,000 of diabetes.

The prevalence of obesity amongst UK men is predicted to rise from 26 per cent to between 41 and 48 per cent. The percentage of obese women is estimated to increase from 26 per cent to between 35 and 43 per cent.

Many experts believe that the Government should be doing more to tackle the problem. In a recent interview with BBC breakfast, leading epidemiologist Prof. Klim McPherson claimed that, whilst the Government is taking action, obesity is still at alarming rates so it clearly isn’t doing enough.

Prof. McPherson believes that better food labelling and a tax on drinks that are high in sugar, are just two examples of the measures that the Government should be taking.

Dr Michael Knapton of the British Heart Foundation expressed his concern with the predicted figures for heart disease and obesity in the United Kingdom. He also called on the Government to take a lead role by making it easier for people to be healthy.

Dr Knapton believes that the Government should focus on ensuring that children are protected from junk-food marketing.

For those that want to improve their diet but lack the basic skills to prepare healthy food the Gables Cookery School in Gloucestershire offers a one day cookery course which may be of interest.

Cookery School News

Cookery school lifts the lid on the restaurant trade

Many people dream of running their own restaurant, but with almost 70% of such businesses failing within the first 3 years, the reality can be somewhat different.

In an effort to ensure that would-be restaurateurs have the full facts before taking the plunge, The Richard Hughes Cookery School has launched a course aimed at those planning to open their own restaurant.

The course, which began last in June, includes subjects such as marketing, menu planning, service, sourcing suppliers and staffing. There is also be the opportunity to meet with other successful business people. The cookery course should appeal to those that are thinking about a change of career as well as those who think that their current business could be improved.

With over 30 years of experience Richard Hughes, is well placed to help others make to a success of their venture. However he is keen to ensure that would-be restaurateurs understand that running restaurant has got very little to do with cookery – the time spent in the kitchen can be a low as 10%. The course focuses on the fundamentals of how to run a restaurant and the impact of that this has on the lifestyles of those that run them.

The course also looks to build confidence but it should be recognised that there is no magic formula. Many people are attracted to the industry each year but many are unsuccessful because they fail to grasp the concept of turning food into profit. The market is tough with a wide range of competition.

The course lasts three days and will cost prospective students £550 per person.

Cookery Courses News

Cooking course gives college students a taste for success

Charitable trust Mentor Link is helping students at Church Hill Middle School in the West Midlands get the opportunity to become the future Jamie Oliver.

A grant of five hundred pounds has recently been awarded to run cooking courses within the college.

The funds arrived following Mentor Link’s successful application for support via West Mercia Police’s Community and Voluntary Sector Awards.

The courses are being run by experienced culinary experts Andrew Powis and his wife Elaine.

Mrs Powis stated: “I tutor 3 students while Andrew tutors 1.”

“The students are really passionate about their cookery courses and have picked a wide range of dishes.The most favoured recipe were crepes which have been tried and appreciated by the headmaster Philip Hume.”
“Because of time restrictions we’ve unsurprisingly needed to make use of packet blends however they haven’t spoilt the students’ enjoyment.”

Aside from acquiring a brand new approach, the purpose of the cookery course is to get tutors to communicate with and befriend the students on a one-to-one basis every week and develop a much more constructive mindset towards studying.

Mrs Powis also explained: “We attempt to instil a strong awareness of working together, maths, safety and health issues, social skills and individual hygiene however it isn’t often simple. Any kind of bad behaviour leads to a exclusion from the subsequent lesson, for which the student is genuinely remorseful.”

To get more details regarding the cookery course please visit the MentorLink website here.

Cookery Courses News

Viva La Espana! Spanish cookery courses are on the up

With its focus on fresh ingredients and amazing regional flavours, Spanish cuisine is becoming extremely popular.

Spain’s extensive cultural history has led to a vast array of distinctive cuisines with thousands of recipes and flavours. It is strongly influenced by seafood which is available in the waters that surround the country.

The popularity of Spanish cuisine has resulted in an increase in demand for Spanish cookery courses here in the UK. There are a variety of different providers but, in our view, the following are amongst the best.

Cornwall, Padstow Seafood School

Founded by celebrity chef Rick Stein, everyone that attends the school leaves with a real sense of why seafood is so special as well as the hands on skills to transform fresh fish into a fantastic culinary treat.

To coincide with the launch of Rick Stein’s Spain, the cookery school has introduced a new series of Spanish cooking courses that will teach you the essentials of Spanish fish cookery. There are both one-day and two-day courses.

The one-day course features a variety of difference seafood dishes from Spain. Each day includes a mixture of hands-on, practical cookery and demonstrations from the experts. A sociable lunch is also included where students can enjoy the dishes that they’ve created.

The two-day course is full of simple cooking techniques for fresh seafood but also features the strong flavours of saffron, smoked paprika, olive oil and garlic. Recipes include dishes such as scallops baked with guindilla, cuttlefish with peas and meatballs and Malaga style fried fish. There is also the opportunity to explore some fantastic Spanish desserts.

London, Food at 52

Food at 52 offers practical tuition in a well equipped and atmospheric kitchen in Clerkenwell, central London. Whether you a seasoned chef or a kitchen novice you’ll really enjoy your time at Food at 52. Classes are small with no more than ten students and each session ends with the chance to enjoy the fantastic dishes that have been created.

The Spanish cookery course will give students the practical tools to create a number of different dishes. Students will learn how to make perfect paella rice, stocks, soffritto and a mixture of different Tapas dishes from octopus in red wine stew to stuffed dates with chorizo.

As with all cooking courses at Food at 52, students will be expected to roll up their sleeves from the start. You will learn to master new skills and will be encouraged to experiment in the kitchen.


Trial suggests eating more oats and nuts could lower cholesterol

Scientists have found that eating more oats and nuts – instead of just avoiding foods which are high in fat – could help to lower cholesterol.

They discovered that a diet which contained foods known to lower cholesterol was more effective than simply avoiding saturated fats.

The most effective diet also contained soy products such as meat substitutes, tofu and milk. Eating more beans, lentils and peas was also encouraged.

The Canadian research team also found that a significant reduction in ‘bad’ cholesterol could result from a six month change in diet. If the diet was sustained for a longer period then it could also lead to an 11 percent reduction in the risk of heart disease over a 10 year period.

During the research, patients suffering from high levels of cholesterol were divided into three different groups. One group were recommended to eat a diet low in fat, including vegetables and fruit.

The remaining two groups were advised to follow a dietary ‘portfolio’ which consisted of specific foods that were known to reduce cholesterol levels such as oats, nuts, lentils and so products.

One of these two groups underwent counselling during two separate clinic visits whilst the other received a more rigorous series of seven clinic visits.

Six months later researchers found that the group which had followed a simple low fat diet had experienced a 3 percent fall in cholesterol.

In contrast, the groups that had introduced cholesterol-lowering foods both experienced reductions of more than 13 percent. 13.8 percent for the group which made seven visits and 13.1 percent for the group which made two visits.

A spokeswoman for the Heart Foundation claimed that the research was encouraging but emphasised that people should be aware that following a diet plan of this type takes commitment.

It was also pointed out that everybody on the trial was already following a diet low in saturated fat and this should be the primary advice to those people who need or want to lower their cholesterol.

The Source Sligo Cookery School currently offers ‘Cholesterol Lowering’ cookery course aimed at people that would like to reduce their cholesterol naturally through lifestyle and diet.

Cookery Course News

Cooking Courses Help Young People Reduce Waste

A new initiative featuring cookery courses has been launched in Loughborough to teach young people to cook great dishes using leftover food.

Sausage risotto, spaghetti bolognaise and pizzas are just a few of the meals that have been prepared by members of DC’s Youth Club as part of the project.

The project has been established by the Leicestershire Waste Partnership to help members of the local community establish cooking courses and promote the key messages of saving money and preventing food waste.

Barbara Walker, a local youth worker explained that the four week cookery course has been a really positive experience and everyone has really enjoyed making new dishes and sampling new foods. She commented that the training pack provided as part of the project was really easy to use.

A spokesman for the Leicestershire Waste Partnership explained that by participating in the sessionsthese youngsters have not just learnt important skills and produced tasty dishes, they are also now more aware of the way in which reducing waste can help to save money. Most people will be surprised how much money is wasted every year as a result of throwing away leftover food which could be eaten.

The project follows a number of successful cookery courses that were held last year by the partnership and the County Council as part of the Love Food Hate Waste promotion.

During these courses, over one hundred people learnt how to cook using leftover food. As a result they were able to save up to fifty pounds per month.

Anybody who is interested in delivering a cookery course in their community should contact [email protected] to receive training pack. Participants can receive assistance from the partnership in the form of cookery equipment, giveaways and general support.

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