Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food in Rotherham has reopened – more than a year after it was closed down by a health and safety inspection.
Celebrity chef Gennaro Contaldo, star of the television series Two Greedy Italians, and Oliver’s mentor, was on hand to officially open the centre in All Saints Square along with Mayor of Rotherham, Coun John Foden.
The centre opened originally in July 2008, two years after a backlash against Jamie’s healthy school dinners campaign in which parents took lunchtime fast food orders from pupils at Rawmarsh Community School.
But it was closed by Rotherham Council in June last year, after an inspection.
The reopened centre is funded by the council and will be run by charity Zest – Health for Life, along with the Jamie Oliver Foundation.
Courses running for eight weeks will teach people basic cooking skills in a fully fitted kitchen, alongside budgeting tips and healthy eating advice.
Susie Brown, chief executive of Zest, said the charity has ‘a good track record’ having run the Ministry of Food in Leeds for four years.
She added: “We are going back to basics. The main aim is about giving people confidence.
“Yes, we are about teaching cooking skills and learning recipes but it’s about building confidence.”
People will be referred to the centre from various agencies, but anyone with an interest in cooking is welcome to sign up to the courses.
Joanna Saunders, head of health improvement at Rotherham Council, said: “We are delighted to see the centre reopening and getting back on track addressing health inequalities in Rotherham.
“Results from Leeds show significant improvements in key health indicators and we expect participants in Rotherham to benefit from healthier lifestyles and increased confidence to cook from scratch.”
Three members of staff will work at the centre and have spent a fortnight training with staff at the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation.