Jamie Oliver opens Ministry of Food in Ipswich

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 9th November 2010

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has announced that Queensland will be the first State to partner with Jamie Oliver’s highly successful Ministry of Food program, helping Queenslanders to prepare healthy meals at home with the support of world-renowned chef Jamie Oliver..

Bligh said a Ministry of Food Cooking Centre is to be based in Ipswich, while a mobile Ministry of Food Outreach Truck will visit Queenslanders in other communities and schools to conduct demonstrations and cooking classes.

“We have committed up to $2.5 million over four years to support the delivery of this program through the Good Foundation because we believe it can make a difference,” said Bligh.

“One in five adults in Queensland is obese, and one in four children is either overweight or obese. “This is about educating young Queenslanders about how to prepare nutritious meals and help them to lead long, healthy lives. “The centre alone, with 10 week courses, one day demonstrations and an outreach program could reach up to 14,000 Queenslanders each year and that can have a massive effect on families and children across our State.”

Oliver said obesity is something that affects millions of people across the world.

“The time has come to take action to prevent this crisis from becoming worse. The Ministry of Food Centres are a practical way to help people learn the simple cooking skills they need to feed themselves and their families’ healthier food,” he said. “I’m delighted that the Queensland Government is paving the way in Australia, with the help of The Good Guys. These cooking classes are fun, produce delicious food from fresh ingredients and really take the fear out of cooking. Today will be a landmark day in the history of Australia’s fight against obesity.”

Under the program:

• Jamie Oliver will deliver a live cooking class over the internet on December 2.
• The Ipswich centre will provide 10-week cooking classes with up to 12 participants per class, with up to six classes each day, six days per week, 48 weeks per year.
• The classes will include information and skills development on ingredients, shopping, budgeting, meal planning, and food preparation and basic cooking.
• Participants will include single parents, young mothers, teenagers, families and older people.
• The mobile Ministry of Food Outreach Truck will travel around Queensland delivering demonstrations and classes in communities, schools, and at community events such as the Ekka and the Mt Isa Rodeo.
• Both the centre and the outreach truck will be staff by three Food Trainers

Laura Anderson, Chairman of The Good Foundation, run by retailer The Good Guys, said she commended the Queensland government in being so proactive regarding the epidemic facing Australia.

“This partnership is about giving Queenslanders the tools to help themselves by learning basic food skills and assisting people to feel more confident in the kitchen and enjoy eating their own meals,” she said.

Alicia Peardon, Programme Director Jamie’s Ministry of Food, said the program changes lives by helping people improve their health through knowledge of cooking.

“Cooking is an important life-skill which everyone should learn. We give people the tools and information to make better choices and instigate change. It’s a little bit of mentoring, hints, tips, shortcuts, how to shop, how to save money and how to make beautiful, quick tasty meals.

“If you could use some help in the kitchen, or want some advice on how to cook for your family, then sign up for a class at one of the new Ministry of Food centres, or visit our website.”

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Paul Lucas said the program could have a positive effect on Queenslander’s health.

“We live in a takeaway food society. Queenslanders’ interest in cooking programs on television demonstrate that many of us want to learn how to cook.

“Unfortunately, many Queenslanders, particularly males, did not learn cooking and nutrition at home. This is an excellent way of encouraging people to cook inexpensively, and make it enjoyable at the same time.”