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What is happening to our cooking skills?

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

Been a really interesting week of food… and it really has prompted the question what is the future of cooking?

I hear more and more secondary schools are cutting Food Tech, Home Economics and such like due to the courses not being ‘academic enough’.  In my opinion, secondary schools are running this subject more like a ‘cookery club’ and not always taking it seriously enough. Have we forgotten the fact that there are thousands of prospective jobs in the hospitality industry and cooking is a life long valuable skill. I feel the more I hear the more I wonder is cookery getting the credit it is due? We all like to go and out and enjoy a delicious meal in a restaurant but do we ever think about the creativity and talent behind the dish? The training and levels of skill needed to work in that kitchen?

Food and Nutrition is the name of the new course for GCSE and A Level. This course is much more science based and seems to concentrate much more on the nutritional value in foods, although important maybe moving away from the practical side of cooking and baking.

“Food culture is more in our faces that it’s ever been. What was once confined to recipe books and the occasional TV show has spread across the digitised world. YouTube chefs are a thing, food blogs are an industry and Instagram foodies multiply by the day….” (Delicious Magazine – April 2017) I am glad to say I certainly am not the only one that takes a picture of everything I eat out!

I am staggered by how many of my contemporaries confess they can’t cook. “If you can read, you can follow a recipe, which means you can cook. People somehow seem to have forgotten that”.  Are we too busy to cook? and is cookery something that is only for the weekend, when you have time or seen as a luxury to those ladies at home who have time and money on their hands? Although contradicted with the ‘Ladies that lunch’ implying they are out to eat on a regular basis.  Cooking from scratch is a life skill that should not be lost. Think of all the ideas, recipes and images you can access now for every possible combination, also box deliveries of every ingredient all weighed out in a bid to minimise work. My favourite expression is fuss free and really cooking can be just that.

Back to education and this week I had the absolute priviledge of attending Wandsworth Young Chef of the Year 2017. Now in the fourth year of this successful competition it was an evening of wonderful food and showcasing the up and coming talent in hospitality.  The dinner is generously supported by the Compass Group and South Thames College and Chefs. The proceeds from the night went to the Mayor’s Charities – Shooting Star Chase Hospice and CCHF All About Kids. I was thrilled to be involved and met some great people. This was a true example of healthy competition and bringing out the best in these local Wandsworth schools.

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