CELEBRITY chef Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food teamed up with Essex Holiday Activity and Food programme during the summer holiday, teaching over 300 children some delicious cooking and nutrition skills.

Supported by Essex Council the Essex Activate providers included Lighthouses in Harwich, Yellow Door in Canvey island and Kidz Active in Saffron Walden gave children who are recipients of free school meals the chance to enjoy a range of fun activities and food during school holidays.

One important part of the programme was learning some all important cooking skills, showing cooking can be fun and empowering as well as delicious and nutritious.

A variety of different skills were taught to age appropriate groups from learning some knife skills, chopping fruit and vegetables to making pancakes, burgers and fajitas.

As Neil O’Sullivan, from Kidz Active, said: “The kids absolutely loved getting stuck into the cooking elements. Ministry of Food has transformed our food on Fridays.

The kids not only learnt key life skills that will improve their ability to cook at home but also had a lot of fun.

It was a close call to say which was the favourite dish to make - either the burger or the one-cup pancakes.”

Alison Corfield, Head of Sustainability and Social Impact at Jamie Oliver Group, said: “The positive feedback we’ve had from our partners at Essex HAF has been brilliant.

“We know that if we teach people how to cook, as early as you can, you are setting them up for a healthy life.

“Once you know how to cook, you know how to make delicious and nutritious choices.

“We believe that there should be proper food education in schools - something Jamie will continue to campaign - and while this campaigning continues, we will carry on working with local partners and councils to deliver our Ministry of Food classes across the country.”

From September parents were also be able to join in the cooking, with providers across Essex

delivering 6 week Ministry of Food courses to parents and carers.

The courses will be hands-on, lots of fun and provide parents with cooking skills, budget recipes and basic nutrition information to support them when feeding their families.

Cheryl Lomas, from Essex County council, said: “I have loved seeing so many children being given

the opportunity to try new foods and new flavours throughout the summer holidays.

“I cannot wait for the Ministry of Food sessions to start across Essex where parents and children can come together and share a journey of learning new skills whilst enjoying delicious food.”