Western Sydneysiders, do we have some fantastic news for you. If you’ve seen some of our previous posts, you would know that we are HUGE fans of Jamie Oliver. His enthusiasm for fresh produce and home cooking is incredibly infectious. So much of our cooking knowledge comes from watching his shows and reading his books. And now, Jamie’s Ministry of Food has opened up in our region!

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So what is Jamie’s Ministry of Food you ask? Well, it’s kind of a big deal. It’s a community program aimed to teach people ‘back to basics’ cooking skills. Basic cooking skills are no longer being passed down through generations like they used to be. As a result, diet-related diseases have sky rocketed. This has now overtaken smoking as the leading cause of premature death in Australia…yikes! If we all just took a little more time to learn to cook simple, nutritionally balanced meals, the health of Australians would improve. That’s why Mr O, in association with The Good Foundation and some generous sponsors, have opened up this fab cooking school in Western Sydney, as well as other locations around Oz.

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The Wetherill Park Ministry of Food centre is a brand-spankin’ new gorgeous kitchen. It's located on the funky refurbished foodie laneway, Kinchin Lane at Stockland shopping centre. Anybody aged over 12 can participate in a 5 week program at Jamie’s Ministry of Food. It costs just $50 to participate in the program or $25 for concession (big shout out to The Good Guys, Stockland and Woolworths for all helping out to keep costs down for participants. Now, if only the NSW government jumped on board too…).

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We eagerly accepted when we received an invitation to participate in a class. The class of 12 was led by experienced food trainers Mark and Renee. They were both full of energy and had a passion for food and teaching, just like Jamie. They took us through the steps of making a Thai Green Chicken Curry. The hands-on class not only taught us how to make the curry from scratch, but also provided some general kitchen and safety tips. It was both informative and fun and of course, we got to eat the curry afterwards!

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The Wetherill Park centre has only been open for a few weeks, but has already seen 13 graduates walk out of its doors. These graduates have gained valuable life skills. Cooking with knowledge and confidence will improve their health and the health of their families. It’s predicted that thousands more will graduate from the centre this year. If you think you could do with a refresher on preparing some simple, tasty, healthy meals from scratch, then this program is for you. The program is currently booked out until the end of March, but for future bookings and more information, visit www.jamiesministryoffood.com .

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Thanks for thinking of western Sydney, Jamie! This is just another reason why we love you!

Disclaimer: We participated in the course courtesy of Jamie's Ministry of Food. Views expressed in this post remain our own.