Food and cookery clubs
Tuesday 30 October 2007
'What's cooking?' is a practical guide to setting up and running community and school food clubs. It's aimed at anyone who would like to help young people choose, cook and eat safe, healthy food.
It specifically encourages young people to:
- plan balanced meals
- read and understand food labels
- be creative when cooking
- learn basic food hygiene and preparation skills
- budget for food
What’s cooking? clubs help make children more aware of the importance of following a healthy diet, and provide them with the necessary skills to make more informed choices about the food they consume and how to follow correct food safety procedures.
The food competences addressed for ages 7 to 14 are:
- diet and health
- consumer awareness
- cooking (food preparation and handling)
- food safety
The flexible approach of the guide means that clubs can be tailored to different themes and different audiences.
The core skills of communication, numeracy, problem solving, IT and working with others can all be covered. Concepts relating to food and health can be taught through society, science and technology, in home economics and health education.
Setting up your own What's cooking? club can bring children together and improve their confidence, while developing social and team working skills. Links can also be strengthened with others in the community, like further education colleges, children’s homes, primary care trusts, fitness centres, local chefs and facilities for older generations.
The Food Standards Agency is aware of the different curricula and has developed a Scottish and English version of the What’s Cooking? guide.
Evaluation of What’s cooking? clubs in the North East of England and in Scotland found that allowing participants to work with food led to a positive change in behaviour in terms of skills and knowledge relating to food preparation and hygiene, and a greater willingness to try different foods. The evaluation also showed that participants continued to use the skills learned in the cooking clubs at home. You can download the evaluation below.
An evaluation of What's Cooking? clubs in the East Midlands supported the findings of the evaluations carried out in the North East of England and Scotland. In addition, the East Midlands evaluation explored the usefulness of the What's Cooking? guide and further ways to support implementation of the clubs. You can download the evaluation below. One of the suggestions for supporting the clubs was to produce guidance on how to sustain them in the future. This was developed and can be found below along with a copy of the evaluation.