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Top chef slams food education

By Sarah Britton , 24-Sep-2007

Celebrity chef Brian Turner has criticised schools for failing to provide children with hands-on food education.

“The dumbing down of food knowledge is a tragedy,” he told food manufacturers at a Food and Drink Innovation Network conference last week. “Food technology can be studied looking at a screen instead of cooking, because it saves money. This has subsequently depleted our skills sector base.”

He claimed that the system had produced a generation of people with bland taste and added that there was “a distinct lack of dedicated people coming into the industry - many haven’t even eaten at a restaurant”

Turner said that practical food education was vital because it encouraged children to develop a multitude of skills. “Food is a broad topic involving nutrition, cookery and communications; it also teaches the ability to problem solve. Many children who struggle with traditional subjects may have their interests re-awakened through food lessons.”

He added: “Using immigration workers can only be a temporary option. We need to raise the bar and develop new training programmes that inspire and deliver.”