Teaching children to cook: ‘It’s all about education and inspiration’

The Mead School in Tunbridge Wells gave a professional level performance in the  ISA drama contests

YOUNG chefs will have a chance to roll up their sleeves and get involved in making, baking or creating with Jo Banks’ Alive with Flavour Hands-on Tent at the Tonbridge Food & Drink Festival on May 26-27.

Jo is passionate about educating people in how to make their own food. She works with food companies locally and nationally, holding workshops and cookery classes, and has attended Tonbridge Farmers’ Market for three years.

She says: ‘I have loved the opportunity of working with some local companies, chefs and food experts to bring together a line-up of non-stop food activities for children and adults.

‘For me, it’s all about the education and inspiration through food. And working with children is such a privilege, it’s rewarding and you can also make such an impact.’

Jo believes that learning to cook is an essential part of growing up and encourages children to be more adventurous with their diet.

‘Cookery is such a life skill and it’s so important for young people to talk about ingredients, equipment and making something to eat,’ she says.

‘I believe that if they have spent the time and energy involved in making something they are much more likely to have a try.’

Having a practical knowledge of food will not only open up a world of culinary possibilities, but also teach young people about nutrition and help to keep them healthy.

‘I love talking about recipes and, more importantly for older children and teenagers, why and what we are eating and the impact it has.’

She cites the example of Riverford Organic Farmers’ ‘I can eat a rainbow’ activity in local primary schools, where children learned to recognise vegetables, chopping and slicing them.

Jo has relished the time she has spent with local residents at the town’s Farmers’ Market, laying on demonstrations of her recipes.

‘I always enjoy sharing quick and replicable tips and recipes with Tonbridge families. I also love the fact I have got to know so many wonderful local businesses, chefs, producers and people with expertise. I collaborate with them regularly.’

At the festival she will be working with Temper Temper, a Southborough firm specialising in chocolate-making parties, as well as Sussex firm Sam’s Kitchen.

‘I want to create an area for children and young people to come and be busy,’ she adds. ‘No actual cooking, but some fun with chopping, slicing, modelling and being creative.’

Jo Banks writes a food blog which can be found on her website

Jo’s hands-on adventures

11.30am-1pm  Create your own chocolate pizza with Temper Temper (£4)

1.15-2pm  ‘Create a mess’ – how to make an Eton Mess (£3)

2.15-3pm  Cake Modelling –
Sally Boulton shows how to
make sugar paste ‘under the sea’
characters (£3)

3.15-5.30pm  Gingerbread men – Sam French from Sam’s Kitchen shows how to decorate his homemade treats (£3.50)

Timings are for both days


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