NACCHO Aboriginal health and nutrition : Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food to partner with our Apunipima Cape York Health Council


A culinary classroom on wheels run by Jamie’s Ministry of Food will visit the remote Aboriginal community of Mossman Gorge in north Queensland this June to deliver a five-week, hands-on cooking program to interested locals.

The mobile food kitchen, a huge truck spanning 15 metres in length bearing the celebrity chef’s branding, will operate in Mossman Gorge from 13 June, providing cheap ‘Jamie-style’ cooking lessons, recipes and tips to help locals make nutritional food, fast and on a budget.

Original Published NITV

PHOTO ABOVE : Jamie’s Ministry of Food Mobile Kitchen recently rolled out its home cooking program in an Aboriginal community for the first time. Here’s a sneak peek of what the residents of Cherbourg (Australia’s 3rd largest Aboriginal community) thought about the program.

The upcoming program, marking the van’s second-ever visit to an Indigenous community in Australia, will aim to empower families with the confidence needed to improve their diet and in-turn, their health.

“The food we want to cook is not unattainable and it uses basic ingredients,” says food trainer for Jamie’s Ministry of Food mobile kitchen, Bree Kennedy.

“By participating in these classes, people will gain confidence in the kitchen to make meals from scratch.

“Once you have that sort of confidence ignited within yourself, it is infectious. I see it every day.”

Jamie Oliver’s traveling food education program will be delivered in the Daintree community by The Good Foundation with support from Apunipima Cape York Health Council (ACYHC) and Mossman Gorge’s governing body, Bamanganga Bubu Ngadimunku.

Community nutritionist at ACYHC and Torres Strait Islander woman, Carny Thompson, explains that her nutrition team helped get the Ministry of Food’s Mobile Kitchen to the Gorge.

“There’s been a lot of consultation that has taken place to enable us to host the program,” she says.

“It’s such a great opportunity for the area and pretty exciting to have a mobile kitchen come to town.”

Community-wide consultation and elder input has enabled the program’s organisers to modify the cooking classes to suit local needs and respect traditions.

“We are approaching the community from a place of great respect, as well as respect for the traditional owners of the land and traditional food customs of sharing and ritual,” adds Ms Kennedy.

“The local community has told us they do a lot of batch cooking to provide food for, sometimes for eight people. So we want to make sure our recipes are adaptable to that situation.

“The food trainers and myself also want to cook food that is traditional for local participants. For example, ordinarily we might use beef mince in a recipe but we could talk about the benefits of using kangaroo mince instead.”

“Once you have that sort of confidence ignited within yourself, it is infectious. I see it every day.”

According to the Queensland Health Preventive Health Survey (2015), more than two-thirds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults in Queensland are overweight or obese.

Indigenous Queenslanders are also 12 per cent more likely to be overweight or obese than non-Indigenous Queenslanders.

Mossman Gorge has seen its fair share of health programs operate within the community. But Ms Thompson truly believes this community-based course could change people’s eating habits.

“I think a program like this is really good because it targets families and encourages people to develop cooking skills and knowledge around food.

“When parents or aunties and uncles go along and learn how to cook healthy, affordable food, it’s a great opportunity to pass that information onto young people and children.

“We would really like local community members to participate in the program. We want people to learn new ideas about food and hold onto them, and carry them through to their families.”

SEE NACCHO NEWS : An invitation to Jamie Oliver from the Wadeye community

 The Cherbourg community get involved in Jamie's Ministry of Food program in 2015

The Cherbourg community get involved in Jamie’s Ministry of Food program in 2015 (supplied).

The Cherbourg community get involved in Jamie’s Ministry of Food program in 2015.

The upcoming visit to Mossman Gorge is a first for Jamie’s mobile kitchen. The van, one of two in Australia, visited the Indigenous community in Queensland’s Cherbourg last year.

A program evaluation, conducted by Deakin University and University of Melbourne, showed that participants who completed the Cherbourg course, gained new cooking skills and food knowledge, were more confident in cooking meals from scratch, purchased and consumed more vegetables and spent less on take away foods.

Research also found that participation in the course brought families together to share a meal around the table, and that behavioural changes were sustained six months after completing the course.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do this job for a year and a half, and facilitate those changes,” says Ms Kennedy. “I’ve witnessed those changes and seen that food is a real instigator that influences people’s habits.

“Five weeks may not seem like a long time to change people’s habits but it’s a great place to start.”

Get involved

  • There are around 180 spots available for Mossman Gorge locals aged 12 and above.
  • The course will be run by food trainers and volunteers.
  • Locals can either drop in for a single class at $2 each or participate in the whole five-week program, attending one class once a week for a subsidised amount of $10.
  • The mobile kitchen will be located on Mossman Gorge Road, Mossman Gorge, Queensland.

For more information on the program, visit The Good Foundation.


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