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Jamie Oliver to open The Stratford Ministry of Food

21 Mar 2011

TV chef Jamie Oliver has announced plans to open one of his Ministry of Food centres in Stratford, East London.

Oliver has been working with Leaside Regenerationa and NHS Newham to make his dream of providing cooking classes for the communities of East London a reality.

The Stratford Ministry of Food will begin as a mobile centre, bringing lessons and demonstrations to schools, community centres and businesses across the borough of Newham, and it is expected to include a permanent centre later this year.

The centre is currently looking for entrepreneurial local people with a good knowledge of cooking to staff the centre – training will be provided. The centre will operate as a social business.

Oliver said: "This is a day that I've dreamed about – the first Ministry of Food Centre in London. If it's half as successful as the Ministries in Rotherham, Bradford and Leeds, it will still be providing an incredibly important service to the people of East London.

"Knowing how to cook nutritious and delicious food using fresh ingredients is an essential life-skill but because it hasn't been taught in schools for many years, we've got a couple of generations of people who don't have the knowledge.

"I've heard from men who have been living off take-away food after their marriages have broken down, and the Ministry course has given them a whole new life-skill. I've also heard from young mums who weren't confident with cooking and were worried about what to feed their kids – during the course, they've caught the cooking bug and never looked back. We've had groups of firemen doing the course, care-home workers, all ages, all kinds of people."

Jamie's Ministry of Food Stratford will be run by Leaside Regeneration Ltd. with support from the Jamie Oliver Foundation, NHS Newham, the Medical Research Council (Human Nutrition Research) and the National Institute for Economic and Social Research. Classes will begin in May 2011.