A ‘Community Kitchen’ to inspire new cooks
Many skills are considered valuable but do you count cooking as one of them? I would argue that it is the most important skill a person can have; because what we eat fuels our brain and body.
A healthy, nutrition-filled diet helps us lead happy and healthy lives but sometimes we forget to prioritise it. We live in an age where we are sold that convenience food will take the stress out of our lives and make us feel good but that’s not always the case.
In fact, when I take the time to cook a meal from scratch, I not only enjoy the process and unwind doing it; I feel healthier and have more energy to tackle whatever the rest of the week throws at me too.
But research shows, British households spend around half as much time preparing an evening meal than they did in the 1980s. It’s not that we don’t love food as a nation (look how much we dine out), it’s that we are time poor, financially struggling or, lacking the skills to do so.
Bringing people back into the kitchen
A new initiative that aims to change this is The Community Kitchen; a brand new cookery school right by Brighton station. The venture has been set up by The Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, a not-for-profit organisation, which helps people learn to cook, eat a healthy diet, grow their own food and waste less food.
Photo credit: Emma Croman
Inspiring everyone to cook
Through a social enterprise business model, the Community Kitchen will ensure that people who can afford to pay for cookery courses, subsidise free/low-cost “community courses” (for people with dementia, learning disabilities and mental health issues), so everyone can learn to cook, regardless of their finances, confidence or ability.
Brighton & Hove Food Partnership has been doing work like this in the community for a good 10 years but on March 1st it smashed its £20,000 crowdfunding target in just 28 days enabling them to convert a derelict office space on the ground floor of the Community Base building on Queen’s Road.
Supported by local businesses
A huge thank you goes to everyone who donated and the national and local businesses that supported the crowdfunding campaign that got the kitchen off the ground. The likes of which include: Dan Kenny of The Set, Doug McMaster of Silo, Kane McDowell of Sugardough, Micheal Bremner of 64 Degrees and Minesh Agnihotri of Kariclub.com, who all pledged to offer masterclasses as prizes for crowdfunding donations.
The schedule is brimming of exciting cookery classes and workshops will kick off on the 12th June; as well as this, Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food course, which will be delivered at the school too. Starting on the 12th July, the 8-week community course will provide basic kitchen and food skills, taught by qualified local experts.
Pasta masterclass with Cin Cin star chef, Jamie Halsall
The emphasis of the Community Kitchen is on having fun, whilst making new friends, and last week this was my experience when I attended a pasta-making masterclass with Jaime Halsall, from my favourite Italian restaurant, Cin Cin.
Photo credit: Emma Croman
In the lesson, Jamie expertly guided us through the process of making two different shapes of pasta; a vegan semolina cavatelli (gnocchi shaped pasta) and an egg based pasta, made with 00 flour and cut into long thin strips of tagliatelle.
Having never made pasta by hand before, I couldn’t wait to get stuck in with an expert watching over to stop me going wrong. I learnt so much in just a few hours with Jamie, including the importance of measuring out the flour and water precisely and leaving the dough to rest after kneading, before making your shapes.
I also discovered that the process of making pasta by hand is really cheap, really easy and fast (no expensive pasta machine required, just a £3.99 board from Amazon!)
Getting to meet new people, of all ages and from different communities to mine was a bonus too and there was a lot of laughter and fun throughout the evening.
At the end of the masterclass, Jamie plated up our creations with his homemade pesto sauce to go with the Cavatelli and a Mediterranean vegetable sauce for the tagliatelle and I devoured a huge plate of both, with plenty of leftovers to take home. It was brilliant.
My Community Kitchen top picks
If you fancy learning some new skills in The Community Kitchen, the following events are my top picks:
- Easy Entertaining with Tina Hovarth of CanTina, Brighton’s original supperclub hostess
Thursday 14th June | 6:30-9:30pm – £55
- North Indian Cookery with Priya of Deccan Tiffin.
Wednesday 27th June | 6:30-9:30pm – £45
- Hooked on Fish with Olly Dawson, of the much-loved Ollys Fish Shack at Street Diner.
Wednesday 11th July | 6:30-9:30pm – £45
- Indian Cookery Masterclass with Minesh Agnihotri, founder of the Indian Summer restaurant and TheKariClub.com
Saturday 20th October | 1:30-5:30pm – £75
However, do check out the full list of events at bhfood.org.uk and see what takes your fancy.
113 Queen’s Road, Brighton, BN1 3XG
*Thank you to emmacroman.com for the beautiful photos
**Disclaimer: I was invited to the Community Kitchen but this is entirely my own honest thoughts of the experience.
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