Waitrosem development chefs

Source: Waitrose

Waitrose chefs teaching key cooking skills during the lesson

Waitrose development chefs hosted a cookery masterclass aimed at equipping young people who have experienced the social care system with core cookery skills.

The session, which was part of the John Lewis Partnership’s Building Happier Futures programme, was hosted as part of Care Day, an annual initiative by the charity Become aimed to highlight issues faced by those who have experienced the care system. A common challenge for many is that they leave care without having the opportunity to have built basic life skills like cooking, that they’ll need in adult life.

Hosted at Waitrose Cookery School at its Kings Cross store, five young people were taught how to butcher a whole chicken. Waitrose development chefs then taught them how to cook a range of dishes, including chicken Shawarma, chicken wings with sweet soy & burnt lime butter, Vietnamese style chicken and noodle salad, chicken Katsu curry and a chicken stock.

Waitrose chose to focus the class on the process of utilising a whole chicken it’s an affordable meal, that’s also nutritious and versatile.

Supporting people who have experienced the care system has been a major focus of The John Lewis Foundation’s charitable efforts, following the launch of its flagship Building Happier Futures programme in 2022, which sought to improve the employment opportunities for care leavers.

“I’m thrilled we could welcome Care Experienced young people, charities and Partners to a cooking masterclass in our King’s Cross Cookery School to mark the global celebration of Care Day,” JLP chairman Sharon White said.

“Our team of chefs made sure that the cooking masterclass went beyond the kitchen - empowering Care Experienced young people with confidence and the feeling of independence - in mastering an essential life skill. I really hope everyone left the class feeling more confident and ultimately, having had a fun time making a delicious meal together.”

Waitrose was “absolutely looking” to host more events in the future, a spokeswoman said.

Anton Babey, CEO of care-focused employment charity Drive Forward Foundation said that a lack of cooking skills could “significantly affect” care-experienced young people.

“Cooking is a fundamental life skill that plays a crucial role in overall well-being and the transition into independent adulthood. It is imperative to offer care-experienced young people access to cooking education and resources as an integral part of their journey.

“We extend our gratitude to John Lewis Partnership, our valued partner for more than two years, for their continued and generous contribution. They provide a valuable activity that not only instils confidence in cooking and inspires aspiring chefs but also enhances participants’ confidence and well-being,” Babey added