Cooking Communities: Using multicultural after-school cooking clubs to enhance community cohesion

L. A. Gatenby, J. Donnelly, R. Connell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    There is concern over the lack of cooking skills among young people in the UK. Studies suggest that teaching young people cooking skills can help to improve dietary quality. In light of this evidence, in 2009 Cooking Communities piloted a series of multicultural after-school cooking clubs at secondary schools in Leeds, UK. These clubs aimed to develop young people's food preparation and cooking skills as well as to enhance their understanding of different cultures. Ten 1.5h cooking clubs were delivered over a 10-week period. Each session concentrated on a recipe linked to a different cultural event, such as bread for harvest festival and honey cake to celebrate Jewish Rosh Hashanah. Pupils completed questionnaires both before and after attending the cooking clubs to assess their cooking abilities and multicultural understanding. These clubs lead to significant improvements in skills such as meal preparation and pupils' ability to cook healthy foods/meals. Pupils' cultural awareness increased significantly after participation in the cooking clubs. Multicultural after-school cooking clubs are an ideal way for young people to enhance not only their cooking skills but also citizenship skills and an understanding of different cultures. This model of multicultural after-school cooking clubs could be adopted by other schools and youth settings in the future to help to promote cooking skills, healthy eating, and respect across different cultural groups.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)108-112
    Number of pages5
    JournalNutrition Bulletin
    Issue number1
    Early online date16 Feb 2011
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


    • After-school cooking clubs
    • Cooking skills
    • Multicultural
    • School children
    • School food


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