Tesco and celebrity kitchen boss Jamie Oliver have teamed up to set up the Tesco Community Cookery School – a programme aimed at helping 1,000 people across the UK get creative with cooking to curb food waste.
The school launched at London’s Goodinge Community Centre, in partnership with food distribution charity Fareshare.
Community chefs will be offered free training and advice on how to prepare healthy meals out of surplus food donations. People tasked with cooking for large groups are often faced with an unusual or unexpected mix of ingredients, plus large quantities of seasonal produce.
They will be trained with recipes designed by Jamie Oliver and will work directly with Tesco’s development chefs.
Knife skills, nutrition and recipes for versatile base sauces are among the skills taught to the community chefs, who will receive free cooking equipment and a collection of the food surplus recipes.
In total, more than 92,000 people have sold The Big Issue since 1991 to help themselves work their way out of poverty – more than could fit into Wembley Stadium.
Jamie Oliver said: “It’s fantastic to join the work that Tesco and FareShare are doing to reduce food waste. The food industry throws away a shocking amount of fresh edible food, so Tesco’s efforts to find a good home for its surplus is a big step in the right direction.
“I’ve written these recipes to arm all those amazing community cooks with the tools to create something delicious and balanced for people who need it the most. It is all about giving otherwise wasted ingredients some love, and transforming them into tasty, nutritious meals. For me, every dish we cook that reduces food waste is a winner!”
In 2009, the supermarket giant stopped sending surplus food to landfill and in 2013 became the first retailer to publish its food waste data.
Its figures show that it donates 300,000 meals to over 7,000 community and charity groups each week.
FareShare CEO Lindsay Boswell said: “With Tesco’s support, FareShare is working with charities across the country to help feed hundreds of thousands of people in need every week.
“Most of these charities provide meals made by community cooks, who may already have lots of experience and just need some new ideas; or they could do with a really good grounding in nutrition and the scaling up of meals. In either case the Tesco Community Cookery School is ideal for them, and will have a direct benefit in providing nutritious hot meals to vulnerable people.”