Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Cooking with Mencap

Mini Cooking Club with Mencap Cooking with Kids

The Mini Cooking Club had lots of fun at our first ever cooking session in partnership with Mencap charity! The Mini Cooking Club is a charity whose aim is to combat rising levels of obesity by providing free cooking sessions for children aged 5-11. Mencap works together with people with a learning disability, and supports them to live the life they choose.

The first session on Sunday 26th January was held at St Mary’s Primary School in Wimbledon. There were 18 children at this week’s session, a mixture of boys and girls and all with different levels of needs. It was raining quite a lot that day, but the mood inside the kitchen was much brighter.

Our founder, Cecilia Belier, who also works for Compass as Community Training Manager, led the session supported by our top volunteer Andrew Bresler. Compass is the biggest provider of catering and support services to schools, colleges and universities in the UK. Cecilia is very experienced in helping people with special needs and has run the community kitchen at Lambeth College for several years. She says, “Seeing the children always puts a smile on my face, especially if I’m feeling a bit flat!”

Andrew’s background is in finance and he is a recent addition to the Mini Cooking Club team. He says that teaching kids how to cook is something he’s always wanted to do, so volunteering as Cooking Assistant has been a great opportunity.

As this was week one, Cecilia made sure it was an introductory session to help assess each child’s level of cooking ability.  She and the kids learned to prepare and make a healthy vegetable salad for the main course and a fruit salad for dessert. The vegetable salad had a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.

The children said that they found the class fun and informative. Children of all abilities were able to get involved and build their confidence with simple culinary tasks.

The Mencap team leader, Sue, was a great laugh and her energy kept us all having fun. She said that it’s really good for the kids to spend more time in the kitchen as it teaches them skills for life. It helps the children to become involved in the food process as it improves their understanding, from seeing where the food is bought, correct storage methods (fridge, freezer or cupboard), appropriate preparation methods and the importance of hygiene.

The second week’s menu featured African stew and apple crumble! Our mouths are watering just thinking about it.

If you want to volunteer or donate to the Mini Cooking Club, or sign up to one of our classes, please visit our website.    

Mini Cooking Club and Mencap Cooking with Kids

Our founder, Cecilia Belier, making vegetable salad with the kids
Our founder, Cecilia Belier, making vegetable salad with the kids

By Catherine Heath

No comments:

Post a Comment