Jamie Oliver set to open Ministry of Food in Stratford

By Simon Hayes on March 17, 2011 1:38 PM |

aa-jul30-oliver142.jpgJamie Oliver is to expand his Ministry Of Food projects by opening his first centre in London close to the site of the Olympics in Stratford.

The chef - who can be seen in Channel 4 series Jamie's Dream School as he tries to turn around the lives of disaffected youths - already has four centres in the north of England.

They provide cookery classes to people to encourage them to eat more healthily by preparing their own food.

The Stratford Ministry of Food will open in May as a mobile centre in Newham after two years of behind-the-scenes planning.

It will take lessons to schools, community centres and businesses across the area, and a permanent base is planned for the near future.

Ministries have already opened in Rotherham, Bradford and Leeds and the north east of England has a mobile centre.

Oliver said: "This is a day that I've dreamed about - the first Ministry of Food Centre in London.

"Knowing how to cook nutritious and delicious food using fresh ingredients is an essential life-skill but because it hasn't been taught in schools for many years, we've got a couple of generations of people who don't have the knowledge.

"Ministry of Food Centres offer that knowledge and because they're staffed by local people, it's like being taught to cook by your mates or your neighbours."

Rosie Boycott, the chair of London Food, said: "This area of east London has high levels of obesity and illness linked to poor diets and I hope that this scheme along with the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will inspire local people to adopt a healthier lifestyle."