Yesterday afternoon I was lucky enough to see my biggest cooking inspiration give a live presentation. That of course is the one and only Jamie Oliver. The admiration that I have towards Mr O is almost indescribable. His passion for cooking is absolutely infectious. His rustic approach to cooking demonstrates his understanding of the everyday, busy, modern family. But, although his TV shows and books are fantastic, they are not enough to change the way the western world eats. This is why he visited Australia.

The purpose of the presentation was to encourage more companies to get on board his Ministry of Food community kitchen initiative. Jamie is well known for his global fight against ‘fast-food’ and firmly believes that Australia has all the ingredients to set the benchmark for success in this battle. He spoke about how Australia is now the fourth fattest nation in the world and the number one reason why Aussie’s are in hospitals is because of diet-related diseases. One of the reasons behind this is because shockingly, people have forgotten how to cook easy and nutritious meals from scratch! Basic cooking skills are no longer being passed onto children. This trend needs to stop as it is putting a terrible strain on health systems across the globe. The kitchens aim to revolutionise the way that communities cook and eat by providing courses which any community member can join to learn valuable cooking skills and ultimately, live a healthier life.

 

JO ticket  JO kitchen

 

The excited crowd at the presentation was large with a major proportion either media or invited attendees, there to be persuaded to endorse the Ministry of Food. During his ‘Kitchen Talk’ he had Aussie Ministry of Food ambassadors Anna Gare, Ben O’Donoghue and Tobie Puttock give demonstrations on some quick and delicious meals. Entertainingly, we also learnt about their robust distaste towards induction cooktops. However, Anna did graciously thank Electrolux for providing the demo’s cooktop anyway. Her 2 minute steaks with salsa picante were also very impressive and I’m looking forward to giving them a go soon. Check out the recipe here: http://www.thestarfish.com.au/recipe-annas-two-minute-steaks-salsa-picante/

 

JO booklet

 

Jamie also had some other guests join him on stage to talk about the Ministry of Food. The head of the Good Guys was there as they are huge believers in Jamie’s work and have already donated a generous $5 million to get it up and running across the country. The CEO of Woolworths was present as they have pledged to work hand in hand with the Good Guys by providing all the fresh food used by the Ministry of Food kitchens free of charge! Whether or not these companies get involved for PR or moral motives is beside the point. Without donations and sponsorships like this, the kitchens would not be able to run. The kitchens need more companies to endorse them so they can reach even more communities and create a widespread, noticeable difference in the health of Aussies.

 

JO demo  JO team

 

I also hope that this campaign brings about change in the produce that supermarkets stock. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I do not purchase ‘fresh’ produce from the supermarket. It is generally poor quality, does not stay fresh for very long and therefore is bad value for money. It is understandable why some Aussies are put off from eating fruit and veggies if they are shopping at supermarkets. I particularly believe that undeservedly, western Sydney bears the brunt of this. I hope that community members who take part in the courses gain a new passion for fresh food and help to drive change within our supermarkets to stock fresh, affordable produce.

What we western Sydneysiders have been lucky to get is the third Ministry of Food centre in Australia! It is being built right now and is due to open in spring in Wetherill Park. This will be a great opportunity for locals to participate in the course or even be a volunteer at the centre. Keep an eye out for the launch of the centre here: https://www.jamieoliver.com/jamies-ministry-of-food-australia/wetherill_park.php

 

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