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Cookery? – that’s only the half of it at Tideswell School of Food

This is an archived press release

Friday 11 July 2014

Stuart Plaskitt of Taste TideswellThree years ago Tideswell School of Food grew out of a BBC/Big Lottery Village SOS programme to boost the local economy – and now it is cooking up a feast to help many more people.

Visitors and locals still come to enjoy culinary courses from bread-making  to bee-keeping, from tapas to Thai cuisine, but recently the school's social enterprise arm, Taste Tideswell, has begun to develop tailor-made services such as:

  • Teaching young people how to cook healthily on a budget before they fly the nest
  • Helping those struggling to get a foot on the career ladder to gain work experience of the catering trade
  • Working with cystic fibrosis and diabetic patients to help them manage their diets more effectively
  • Enabling local people to gain hygiene and catering skills to help their job prospects
  • Supporting local bed-and-breakfast businesses with advice on cooking, hygiene, local sourcing and improving profit-margins
  • Teaching school children history, geography, maths or science through food experiences tailored to the national curriculum.

Behind all this is Taste Tideswell's new Curriculum Development Officer Stuart Plaskitt, a former city-based headteacher who now lives in the village. He is keen to talk to any organisation about designing food courses to suit their needs.

"We're working in partnership with charities and health groups across our local area and into Sheffield, Manchester, Nottingham and beyond," said Stuart.

"We're also working with schools to create courses that tie in with particular topics they may be studying. We have a Tudor Cookery course for instance, that includes plants and brewing, and we can create food experiences for historical periods such as the Romans or the Victorians. We also offer a "Food4Thought" wartime food experience, with children "digging for victory" in the Kitchen Garden and taking their ration card to local shops."

Stuart's post is being supported initially by a Peak District National Park Sustainable Development Fund grant with the aim, after two years, of becoming self-funding through grants or income from courses.

"My role is three-fold: to open up the School of Food to people who wouldn't normally visit; to use cookery as a way to improve people's health, skills, knowledge and job prospects; and to help local businesses to stand out from the rest of the field," explained Stuart.

He is also seeking sponsorships and funding so that Taste Tideswell can help more community groups who would otherwise struggle to afford a course.

Tideswell School of Food was given a big boost by the BBC Village SOS programme, but it has sustained that success with an annual food festival and culinary experiences which make the most of its national park setting. Now, through Taste Tideswell, it is really cooking for more and more people.

Picture caption: Stuart Plaskitt Taste Tideswell's new Curriculum Development Officer – picture by Bernard O'Sullivan.

This is an archived press release

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