Delia Smith 'sceptical' of school food lesson plans

Delia Smith: "I might have just finally cracked how to do it"

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Celebrity cook Delia Smith has said she is "sceptical" of plans to reintroduce compulsory food lessons in schools as part of a National Curriculum review.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 live, the food writer questioned how schools will fund kitchen equipped classrooms and find enough teachers by September 2014.

She also said young people were "afraid to cook" and that much TV cookery failed to "get down to basics".

Children would grow an "understanding of good food" the government said.

If approved, the Department for Education (DfE) proposals would see all children up to the age of 14 learning about food.

Smith said: "I'm sceptical because when they took cooking out of schools they pulled out all the equipment, so where's the money coming from to put the equipment back?

"It's good if they can get all the equipment back in so the children can really learn to cook properly. I just feel I'll believe it when I see it."

Start Quote

All I ever wanted to do was teach people to cook”

End Quote Delia Smith

A DfE spokesperson said: "By including food and nutrition in the new curriculum, we want to encourage children to develop a love of food and cooking that will stay with them as they grow up.

"Given the obesity issues that face our children today, it is also vital that they know as much as possible about what constitutes a balanced diet."

Cookery would only be compulsory in those schools with kitchen facilities.

'Life is enhanced'

Smith, a best-selling cookery writer, has been sharing recipes with the nation since the 1970s.

A Norwich City FC shareholder, the Suffolk-based cook hung up her TV apron in February in favour of cooking online, believing TV cookery is now too entertaining "to really teach people the basics".

Speaking on The One Show on Thursday she said: "I won't do teaching cookery on TV any more because what I'm doing now is a better way to reach people.

"We need all the food programmes on the television, but if you're a young person and you haven't had any cooking lessons, why should you be expected to cook?

"I haven't been critical [of TV cookery programmes] but I remember in my career being told 'it's got to be more entertaining'... but I'm just not able to entertain and show people how to cook at the same time.

"All I ever wanted to do was teach people to cook and I was never going to be able to entertain them at the same time.

"If you learn the basics your daily life is enhanced as you can cook really nice food and you know what's in it because you're cooking it.

"Your life is more interesting as you're eating more interesting food."

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