With a recent survey from The Times highlighting that young people are overspending on takeaways more than any other age group as well as only knowing on average 4 recipes, we take a look into how an increase in exposure to the culinary could have a significant benefit.
BBC's Good Food magazine revealed that 16-24 years old are spending £63.65 on food per week. In comparison to this, adults are typically spending £57.30. Could this spend be combatted by students learning the fundamental basics in cooking? We very much agree so!
1. Essential Life skill
The art of basic cookery is an essential life skill that too few teenage students are capable of doing. Many students resort to expensive ready meals that offer little nutritional value and a heap load of calories, fats, salts and sugars. According to one study, students lack confidence and knowledge in the kitchen and this has resulted in them showing little desire or interest in cooking their own meals.
By making Food technology compulsory, students will have the relevant guidance and motivation to plan, prepare and produce their own meals and with basic kitchen skills mastered, we can hopefully assume that more and more teenagers will be active cooks within their own home kitchen.
2. Promotes a Healthy Lifestyle
There's no denying that take away such as McDonalds, Dominos and KFC are popular for students, there is also no escaping the fact they serve some of the unhealthiest food available at significantly low prices! Just one slice of Domino's Pepperoni Pizza contains 310 calories and 16 grams of fat with just 8 slices totalling to 2,480 calories and 128 grams of fat!
Food Technology in particular Home Economics enables students to understand the nutritional breakdown of foods and which nutrients the body needs in order to function properly. After students have understood minerals, vitamins and nutrients teachers can encourage them to create alternative substitutes for ready meals and popular take outs!
3. Uncover a Talent or Potential Career Opportunity
With students exposed to cooking and baking, there is the increasing potential for students to discover a hidden culinary talent as well as the idea of working within the catering and hospitality industry. The introduction of students to the catering industry was noted in Jamie Oliver's five-part documentary, Jamie's Kitchen, in which unemployed and outspoken youths were trained by the celebrity chef. The outcome of this documentary led to many of the teens working in some of London's best restaurants as well as one individual, Kerry – Ann Dunlop, releasing a cookery book to much success.
These reasons alone prove that Food Technology and Cookery should become compulsory in education across all ages and schools within the UK. Here's hoping that schools take note and include this subject across the curriculum.