FINE TASTE: Jamie's Ministry of Food Ipswich centre manager Alina Paff.
FINE TASTE: Jamie's Ministry of Food Ipswich centre manager Alina Paff. Rob Williams

'The joy of fresh food': Tasty holiday workshop to inspire

IPSWICH can boast a number of firsts and among them is the Australian Ministry of Food centre.

The centre opened on April 14, 2011 offering a 10-week cooking course for just $10 a week. It came at a time when Queensland was dealing with the sobering reality that one in three adults are overweight and one in four are obese. The Ministry of Food offers a place to learn about buying, shopping and cooking food that will literally change lives. Over the next two weeks young Ipswichians can join in a special school holiday program.

The Kitchen had a workout as it became a place to feed 250 people a night during the floods earlier in 2011 but was soon made ready to commence its ongoing work in the city.

Its simple mission is to inspire people to get back to basics in the kitchen. "The Ministry of Food is so simple in what it does: It's about celebrating great food with guidance, love, care and attention. It's for anyone, from any background and it really does change lives," Jamie Oliver said.

Located in central Ipswich on D'arcy Doyle Place, Jamie's Ministry of Food is a successful enterprise and offers a range of courses.

During these school holidays it is a chance to be part of a four-day course, bookings still open for next week. "It is a program aimed at those aged 12 years and over who will get to cook nutritious and delicious recipes. Participants get to learn a lot and have a great deal of fun doing so," Ipswich centre manager Alira Paff said.

"We provide basic food education, learn about shopping and how to get value for money. They get to make quick meals for scratch. All the way they are getting Jamie's tips and tricks to great cooking," she said.

The facilities are first class and while, for some, it may seem amazing people do not know how to cook, official ambassador for the Ministry of Food program, Ben O'Donoghue views this program as a great opportunity to empower people. "It's crazy to think that you need a school to teach people how cook but it's got to a state that somehow society have lost that basic life skill of cooking."

"It's about the social fabric, it's about empowering people and giving them life skills," Mr O'Donoghue said.

Alira Paff agrees, and is passionate about what is being achieved.

"I find that during these classes people start to form friendships and that goes on beyond the time they have here. It is much more than cooking," she said.

"This is about sharing the joy of fresh food and inspiring a passion for home cooking in local communities."

"We have a range of courses on offer including the school holiday program for these two weeks, Jamie's Ministry of Food cooking program and pasta workshop as ongoing sessions. Classes are available six days per week with morning, afternoon, evening and weekend classes on offer."

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