Tuesday, 22 January 2008
I'm delighted to see that cooking is to be made compulsory for 11-14 year-olds in English secondary schools. There were already plans to provide all students with an entitlement to learn to cook, part of a package developed by Tony Blair with Jamie Oliver, but this strengthening of that commitment is right. Of course, schools will need more kitchens. But the most important thing is that children learn how to cook decent meals, and that the dreadfulness of what passed for food preparation in too many 'food technology' lessons is consigned to history. But there are two important issues. First, schools should be ready to allow local cooks to take the classes if they haven't got enough 'food technology' teachers. And second, youngsters who cook the best meals - or bake the nicest cakes - should be able to serve them to their classmates without being prohibited by the sort of absurd health and safety concerns that I have seen in far too many such classes.