Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food is cooking up a storm at a Rotherham extra care scheme
Published by Paula Littleboy for Together Housing Group in Housing and also in Communities
The celebrity chef, famous for amongst other things promoting healthy food on a budget, has set up base in the cafe at Oak Tree’s extra care scheme (owned and managed by Chevin Housing Association, a member of the Together Housing Group).
Dedicated cooks and volunteers from the Ministry, including some Chevin residents, now prepare meals at the cafe using fresh ingredients at a low price. The new menu has been a smash hit with diners including the wider public as well as the residents of the scheme.
Michelle Jones, Supported Housing Officer at Chevin, said the Ministry had made the scheme’s cafe a hot ticket at lunchtimes.
She said: “The Ministry use our facilities to cook healthy food through a contract with the local Council, we used to get a handful of people into the cafe, now it’s full everyday. Residents get involved with preparing meals and they’re having an influence on the menu but most of all they are loving the food. Good food at a low cost and good company – you can’t ask for more than that.”
Alan Hill, a Chevin resident, has always had an interest in food and jumped at the chance to get involved. He said: It’s been fantastic for me because I’ve learned new skills and worked towards my NVQ Level 2. The cafe is always full and we’ve started to adapt the menu with the residents. To have healthy food available for a low price is very important in these times so long may it continue.”
Dean Pry, a cook at the Ministry of Food, added: “The Ministry of Food is a social enterprise aimed at promoting healthy eating and cooking. Volunteers come in and learn a skill that can hopefully turn into a career but we’re also able to prepare healthy meals at a low cost and it’s been really successful. We get lots of people coming to the cafe and we talk to the customers to prepare food they like and it’s working very well so far."
Resident Doreen Kirk is a regular at the cafe. She said: “It’s a great scheme and the food is smashing for the price we pay. I’ve tried all of the dishes and we’ve been able to talk to the cooks about what we like and that’s been nice. “The cafe is always very busy and it’s nice for everyone to get together.”
Fellow resident Elsie Thomas added: “It’s nice to be able to get out and see friends so this scheme is a real bonus for me. The food is of a good quality, and so is the conversation, so I really like it.”
The Ministry of Food project operates in the cafe at Oak Tree’s extra care scheme, with food preparation commencing each day from 10.30am and food served from 12noon to 1.30pm.