National Cooking Programme launches Summer 2021

Photo credit - School Food Matter Photo credit – School Food Matters

Cookery School at Little Portland Street’s ‘oven-ready’ programme of x20 FREE online interactive classes for teenagers wanting to learn to cook, commences Wednesday 16 June 2021 at 5.30pm for an hour every week on Instagram and YouTube.

There is universal agreement that kids in the UK are not being taught to cook and this is proving to be detrimental to their future health and well being.  Since the start of the pandemic – and even before then – Cookery School at Little Portland Street has been planning a campaign – the National Cooking Programme –  to offer teens, in the first instance, the opportunity to learn to cook and acquire an important life skill that has, through successive governments, been denied to them.

Value of teachers

The value of teachers took on a new gloss as their true worth was realised during the pandemic when parents tried to teach their children at home.  We at Cookery School admire and love the fact that so many chefs, charities and other interest groups, have recently devised great initiatives, however, we also deeply believe that a well thought out programme spearheaded by a reputable cookery school, where the teaching cooking for the sheer joy of cooking, to as many as possible, needs to be urgently put in place.

The National Food Strategy* recognises the vital issue of the future health of the nation and ergo the relationship between children and cooking, and aims to address this in the second phase of the Strategy.  Professor Tim Spector**, like us at Cookery School, recognises the importance of healthy eating, and has wholeheartedly endorsed our National Cooking Programme. Learning to cook can no longer be shelved, and there is not time like the present to start.

Cooking to reduce greenhouse gases

Very importantly, we need to recognise the role that cooking and shopping play in reducing greenhouse gases. Greta Thunberg***, says ‘Every little bit helps’ in recognising the power that each of us has, however small our contribution, to alter the course of what happens to our world in coming years.  This too will be reflected in the National Cooking Programme as it would be irresponsible to ignore this aspect of cooking.

Free interactive cooking classes for teenagers

Our ‘oven-ready’ programme of x20 FREE online interactive classes commences on Wednesday 16 June at 5.30pm for an hour, and every Wednesday, for twenty weeks, at the same time thereafter.  The classes will be live-streamed online – Instagram  and YouTube – and available to all that are keen to access them.  Stefan Lind, who heads the teaching team at Cookery School, will be leading these sessions.  Alongside him will be an untutored teen who will be cooking along.  Via the chat, participants will be able to ask questions as they cook along.

Unlike Maths or English that depend on sequential learning, cooking does not, so we will be doing dishes each week that kids enjoy eating and over the 20 weeks, our cooks will establish a decent cooking repertoire ranging from healthy fish and chips, spag bol and roast dinner to mac ‘n cheese, pizza and even the odd sweet treat. 

Once we have run through the 20 week programme we will be more than happy to share this with any adult who may feel it is sufficiently worthwhile to use a basis for teaching in their own food tech kitchens.  We are also planning a Mark II version, where we will teach our kids following the National Cooking Programme how to make the wonderful diverse range of international dishes that have been imported to the UK over the years.

Photo credit : School Food Matters

Photo credit: School Food Matters

What’s on the menu each week?

We’ll publish the ingredients list and recipe ahead of the live-stream each week. Here’s what teenagers will learn to cook for week twenty.

If you missed out previous classes here’s what we cooked:

Week one – Roast chicken and roasted vegetables

Week two – Pasta and Rich Tomato Sauce

Week three – Macaroni and cheese and salad

Week four – Pizza

Week five – Fish cakes with tangy fresh tomato relish

Week six – Summer Minestrone

Week seven – Soda Bread, coleslaw and boiled eggs

Week eight – Spanish Tortilla and simple orange dessert

Week nine – Spaghetti Bolognese and salad with Balsamic vinegar dressing

Week ten – Oven Fried Chicken and crispy chips

Week eleven – French Toast and Fruit Muffins

Week twelve – Shepherd’s Pie – both with lamb and vegetarian

Week thirteen – Fish cakes, Cheesey Potato Cakes and Tomato and Basil Salsa

Week fourteen – American Pancakes also known as Griddle Cakes

Week fifteen – Chicken Casserole and Vegetable Casserole

Week sixteen – Granary Rolls with Tuna Mayo and Egg Mayo fillings

Week seventeen – Apple Crumble

Week eighteen – Bean Burgers and Chocolate Brownies

Week nineteen – Griddled Chicken and Vegetables with Aioli

Help us share the National Cooking Programme

To make this a success,  we are requesting that as many people as possible are able to endorse the National Cooking Programme on as many social media sites as possible so that we can attract a good number of interested teens to participate in this first series of online interactive cooking sessions.

We need as much from the food community as possible and would be grateful for any assistance to make the National Cooking Programme into a worthwhile reality.



*National Food Strategy, An independent review commissioned by UK government to set out a vision and a plan for a better food system.
** Tim Spector, Professor of Genetics
***Greta Thunberg, Climate and Environmental activist