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Anna's Story: Recipe for success

Nine-year-old Anna has a newfound passion for cooking thanks to our Cook Like a Pro programme, which encourages young people to cook and learn about healthy eating in partnership with Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food.

Before attending the weekly sessions at Salvation Army in Thornton Heath, Anna was shy and had little experience in a kitchen. She now attends regularly, which has helped Anna and her family grow closer and upskill in the kitchen.

Anna has learnt various skills in the kitchen from the cooking programme, she has grown a great understanding of different cooking techniques and is able to confidently use a variety of chopping techniques to prepare foods. It has also improved her reading as she has become confident in reading recipe books and often looks to pick up recipe cards on visits to the local supermarket

Anna said: “Cooking is my favourite hobby, it makes me feel happy and excited for Thursday and if I’ve had a bad day at school it calms me. I like making friends at the session and being able to cook.”

Prior to beginning the programme Anna was a shy and quiet member of any group, however a change was noticed in her behaviour at these sessions due to the buddy system implemented, directly impacting Anna as she started to form and build friendships with other participants and young people.

Anna has developed skills that she has been able to take home and introduce to her family. Her mother has noticed an increased sense of responsibility in Anna as she has begun to teach her younger brother the skills she has learned from the lessons as well as suggesting a rota for meal times at home where they can take it in turns to set the table and clear up. The sessions have also prompted the start of family discussions on the importance of healthy eating.

Cook Like a Pro has really improved Anna’s relationship with her Mother, where they used to struggle to find time to spend together, they now bond over Anna’s new confidence to help at home in the kitchen, whilst cooking and discussing new recipes to try.

Anna’s mother commented on the impact the programme has had on their family: “Cooking time has completely changed for us and we love the new dynamics. Anna and her brother are involved and I can worry less in the kitchen, as long as there to assist her. As a mother this Palace for Life cooking programme has not only benefit Anna, but has touched our whole family.

“Cooking and meal times have now become a time to be able to bond together. I feel as a mother this program has not only benefitted Anna, but also has touched our family as well as everyone around us. It’s lovely to see our visitor’s comments about how we all get involved at dinner time.”


For more information on the Cook Like a Pro sessions contact Jamie at JamieBroughton@palaceforlife.org

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