Cooking Courses News

Cookery experts sought for NHS project

Cookery experts are current being sought to share their knowledge, skills and passion as part of programme sponsored by NHS Norfolk which aims to provide cooking courses dedicated to simple, healthy and cost effective food.

It is hoped that trainers for the not-for-profit Joy of Food scheme will inspire others while offering advice and practical support on simple ways to enjoy a more balanced and varied diet.

The cookery courses, which are currently taking place on a regular basis throughout the county, aim to demonstrate how to use a wide range of techniques and ingredients.

Whilst a number of trainers have already volunteered, more trainers are required especially in west Norfolk. Each volunteer is being asked to commit to a minimum of one three-hour session per week. Anyone can apply to become a trainer, from keen amateurs to professional chefs; the only requirement is a love of cookery and a genuine passion for food.

Trainers will be required to teach small classes in community venues, such as village halls, pub kitchens and children’s centres.

A spokesman for the project explained that they are aiming to recruit individuals who possess a good knowledge of food and cookery and who are comfortable standing before a group of people and passing on what the know. The trainers will also be passionate about cookery and be keen to inspire others.

Organisers are planning to launch more specialist cookery courses to supplement the basic workshops. These are expected to include courses devoted to chicken, fish and bread making as well as a workshop dedicated specifically to cooking on a tight budget.

A public health official for NHS Norfolk explained that a well-balanced diet plays a really important role in helping to prevent poor health. It is hoped that the programme inspire a variety of different people who have never taken responsibility for cooking their own meals.

Cookery Courses News

New Research Suggests That Consumers Are Returning To Good Value Pub Food

Whilst traditional restaurants continue to struggle to attract customers in today’s difficult economic climate, new figures suggest that pubs are bucking this trend and are experiencing in increase in the number of customers that eat out.

The study, by market research firm, The NPD Group, is based on year on year growth figures from the last six months. The figures suggest that the recovery has been led by leading branded operators such as Harvester and Weatherspoons.

The research established that pubs that serve food are able to capitalise on longer opening times by serving food throughout the day. Many now offer breakfast and morning coffee in addition to the more traditional lunch and dinner.

The study also found that value is a key factor in the popularity of food service in pubs. With early evening and breakfast offers pubs are generally perceived to offer a value for money service which is valued by customers.

Branded pubs have seen a 4% increase in customer numbers in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same point last year. Unbranded pubs have been unable to match such strong performance.

During the same period the pub industry has seen a 2.2% growth in numbers with a 1.4% increase in average spend, whist the restaurant industry has experienced a 4.4% fall in its customer numbers.

The average spend per person in a pub during the last year was almost £8, compared to £9.50 for a full restaurant.

The figures also suggest that eating out at pubs is particularly appealing to families on a middle income, with over 55% of their customers falling in the household income range £19,000 – £49,999.

A spokesman for NPD explained that when the latest recession hit, many people gave up eating out and choose instead to either visit a fast food outlet or concentrate on cooking their own food. This view is supported by a grow in the number of people attending cookery courses.

There is a perception that restaurants are still very expensive and that they are in danger of pricing themselves out of the market.

The good news for the pub industry is that it is attracting consumers back for occasions when they are likely to spend more money, such as weekends and at dinner, when they are able bring along their children with the meal becoming more of a social occasions.


New Survey Reveals That Diners Are Cutting Back

A new survey by food service consultancy firm Horizons which has revealed that British consumers are cutting back on the number of times that they eat out.

The survey reveals that the number of times that people eat out has fallen by 25 per cent in the last year. A year ago the average consumer was eating out around 1.4 times per week. This figure is now around once per week. The fall has coincided with a corresponding increase in the number of people attending cookery courses.

However despite the current economic climate 70 per cent of consumers said that they had dined out at least once in the last two weeks with almost 50 per cent doing so twice or more.

One third of the 1,400 people questioned thought that eating out was more convenient and a quarter claimed that they would prefer not to cook at home.

Of those that have eaten out recently almost 30 per cent said that they were being sociable, 23 per cent were celebrating a special occasion whilst 17 per cent claimed it represented better value.

A spokeswoman for Horizons explained that the results show that whilst consumers have reduced the number of times that they eat out, it continues to be a popular pastime due to sociability, value for money and convenience.

The survey also found that a third of consumers choose the venue based on habit whilst 22 per cent claimed that their choice was unplanned. Around 14 per cent chose the venue based on a recommendation with only 11 per cent being influenced by special offers or vouchers.

According to the survey the most popular place to eat out is pub restaurants with around 20 per cent of people questioned choosing to eat there. The next most popular choices were home delivery and takeaways with Chinese and Indian restaurants coming joint third.

The recent study also found that pubs were proving a popular choice for customers wishing to eat out.