Paying homage to healthy eating
Last October the historic Quadrangle lawns at the University of Sydney were transformed into a giant cooking school, presided over by Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food Ambassador and renowned chef Ian Curley.
Some of the cooking participants
More than 300 members of the public, along with donors, staff and students from the University and Bass Hill High School, participated in Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food Australia and the University of Sydney’s ‘Back to Cooking Basics’ class. Celebrity chef and owner of Melbourne’s European restaurant Ian Curley directed the preparation and cooking of 200 Cracking Burgers and 100 Tasty Chargrilled Chicken Kebabs, made of fresh and healthy ingredients.
The goal of the event was to educate the community and show how easy it is to incorporate healthy cooking into our daily lives.
“Lack of knowledge, confidence and skills are the main barriers which stop people from cooking,” says Alicia Peardon, General Manager, the Good Foundation and Program Director, Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia. “When you know how to cook, you’ve control over your life and your health. Cooking is one of the most important things we can ever learn in life.”
The University’s Charles Perkins Centre was inspired to organise the event as part of its aim to significantly reduce the personal and social burden of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease by transforming the way we eat, work and live. The cooking class was designed to inspire people to return to the kitchen to cook meals from scratch, instead of opting for easier food options such as takeaways or microwave meals.
The Charles Perkins Centre was created by the University of Sydney to innovate and challenge existing approaches to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
There is good reason for this goal: the latest figures from the National Preventative Health Taskforce reveal that more than 60 percent of Australian adults and 25 percent of Australian children are overweight or obese. The most recent projections indicate a further 6.7 million obese Australians by 2025. These frightening figures demonstrate an urgent need for action.
The 'Cracking Burger' is a healthier way to enjoy a food we all love.
“The centre will integrate and enhance existing research across the University in an effort to address and solve the huge social and health costs arising from these metabolic diseases, which we believe can be prevented,” says Professor Stephen Simpson, the centre’s new academic director.
“Not only will the centre undertake groundbreaking academic work on the causes of obesity and metabolic disease, it will promote this knowledge and thereby empower people to manage their health, lifestyle and diet. We are committed to improving health outcomes not just here in Australia, but around the world.”
Events such as the University’s public cooking class are just the beginning. Proving that healthy choices can be enjoyable, it provided confidence and inspiration to participants, encouraging them to get back into the kitchen and get cooking – for health as well as fun.