Jamie Oliver’s Ministry Of Food re-opens in Rotherham

(L-R) The Mayor of Rotherham, Councillor John Foden. Jamie Oliver's mentor, Gennaro Contaldo. Project Manager, Dawn Rowley and the Mayoress of Rotherham Kath Foden preparing a pasta dish at the re-opening of the Ministry Of Food in Rotherham
(L-R) The Mayor of Rotherham, Councillor John Foden. Jamie Oliver's mentor, Gennaro Contaldo. Project Manager, Dawn Rowley and the Mayoress of Rotherham Kath Foden preparing a pasta dish at the re-opening of the Ministry Of Food in Rotherham
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Rotherham town centre got a fresh boost on Friday when its Jamie Oliver Ministry Of Food reopened.

Rotherham town centre got a fresh boost on Friday when its Jamie Oliver Ministry Of Food reopened.

Oliver sent his ‘culinary godfather’ along to the re-launch of the healthy cookery school,takeaway and cafe, which closed in 2013 over health and safety concerns.

Gennaro Contaldo, respected chef and the man Jamie Oliver learned to cook with in the 1990s, opened the doors with Mayor of Rotherham, Councillor John Foden.

The All Saints Square premises have undergone a refresh after being taken over by Leeds-based charity, Zest - Health for Life.

New centre staff are in place and manager Dawn Rowley and cookery trainers, Melvin Jarman and Carolyn Nicholls, are set to teach basic cooking skills, give shopping and budgeting tips and healthy eating advice.

“We are delighted to see the centre getting back on track,”, says Joanna Saunders, Head of Health Improvement at Rotherham Borough Council. “The Council is investing in the centre and has commissioned Zest – Health for Life, the organisation responsible for the successful Ministry of Food Leeds project, where results show significant improvements in health.

“We expect participants in Rotherham to benefit from weight loss, healthier lifestyles and increased confidence to cook from scratch.”

Oliver launched Rotherham’s Ministry of Food in 2008, with the help of £130,000 a year from Rotherham Council, two years after the town hit global headlines. Women had posted burgers through the fence to children at Rawmarsh Comprehensive because the school had instituted a healthy eating policy following the TV chef’s work to try to improve school dinners.

It became a social enterprise in 2010, enabling it to achieve financial stability and to bid for funding, but shut in the summer of 2013 following a health and safety inspection.

A council spokesman said at the time: “As the welfare of the staff and the public is our main priority, the shop has been closed to enable a full survey of the premises to be carried out.

Neil Lovell from the Jamie Oliver Foundation said “We are thrilled to see the centre reopening and will work closely with the Council and Zest to make sure it is more successful than ever.”