Ten young people from local hostels attended two training events led by John Burton-Race aimed at boosting their confidence, cooking skills and ability to live independent lives after they leave their current accommodation.
The celebrity chef demonstrated how to prepare simple good food such smoked haddock and avocado salad and caramelised apple tarts, and then helped the aspiring cooks to have a go themselves.
As well as putting his tips to good use once they live on their own, the youngsters are also set to test them out in the New Year as they hold a cooking competition amongst themselves.
The session was organised by Futures Homescape, which provides the homelessness and housing advice service on behalf of Amber Valley Borough Council, and the Coach House Hostel, which hosted the event. It is part of a wider project to improve the health and wellbeing of those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Funding for the session was awarded by NHS Derbyshire County to Futures Homescape and Erewash Borough Council.
Sara Parkin, housing advice manager, said: “The day went really well and everyone got something out of it. A number of those attending are interested in a future in the food industry, so the course not only provided valuable vocational skills, but also a chance to get an inspiring insight into that world.
“The project aims to bring out the young people’s skills, interests and talents and this cooking session certainly enabled that. As well as cooking and nutrition, the course also gave opportunities to complete presentations and gain confidence in working in a group.”
Jane Horton, housing and health strategy manager at NHS Derbyshire County, said: “‘Projects that encourage young people to take an interest in healthy eating and how this can be achieved on a set budget are worthy of support especially to improve the health and wellbeing of those who are homeless.”