Jamie’s Ministry of Food at Selhurst Park

According to recent research, millions of Britons lack even the most basic cooking skills, like how to boil an egg. And only this morning on BBC Breakfast there was a report showing the lack of knowledge children have about the origins of the food they eat; for example, many thought cheese was from a plant.

Jamie Oliver is well-known for his campaigns to improve school lunches amongst his many other ventures, and now he has founded the ‘Ministry of Food’ – an organisation dedicated to teaching basic cooking skills to people all over Britain. With the help of Hotpoint UK, the Ministry of Food has launched its mobile kitchen, which is on tour around the UK.

The Hotpoint Mobile Kitchen

We caught up with the mobile kitchen last week at Selhurst Park, home of Crystal Palace FC. It’s a thing of wonder, basically a teaching kitchen on a truck, but it expands to about twice the width of the truck to give a roomy space with 12 work stations along with the demonstration area at the front.

Inside view

A group of around eight of us were shown how to cook a simple Teriyaki fillet of salmon with cucumber salad and fluffy wholemeal rice. Firstly, we made a marinade with ginger, mirin (rice wine), olive oil, soy sauce and brown sugar, and left the salmon in this for about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile we made a simple cucumber salad with coriander and chilli, accompanied by a dressing we made ourselves.

Gennaro Contaldo and the Ministry of Food Team

We then pan-fried the salmon, skin side down first, for about 10 mins total and served it with the salad and some rice which had been cooked for us at the front. Celebrity Chef Gennaro Contaldo (Saturday Kitchen etc) supervised our efforts and came round to chat to each of us while we were cooking.

The Professional’s dish

I’m not the best of cooks, with a tendency to panic at the merest hint of difficulty, but the step-by-step demonstration was easy to follow and amazingly mine turned out OK ( Well it tasted good, but didn’t quite have the professional presentation!).  We all then went outside to the dining area for a lovely lunch of our own creation.

My effort

The mobile kitchen is currently working with the Crystal Palace FC Foundation helping young people develop their cooking skills but you can book a slot this week on their website. The Ministry of Food and the Hotpoint Mobile Kitchen are brilliant ways to improve the nation’s cooking skills – we wish them the best of luck in their much-needed venture.

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