(L-R): Councillor Jenny Laing, leader of Aberdeen City Council; with budding cooks Cameron Pirie (17); Taylor Brannigan (17); Samantha Milne (20) and Hannah Milne (17).

Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE) and Aberdeen City Council have joined forces with Jamie Oliver in a Scottish first to deliver the Ministry of Food project in Aberdeen.

Cooking is a vital life skill, and everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to cook affordable, delicious, and nutritious meals.

CFINE, an award-winning charity and social enterprise, has exclusivity for the programme, which supports young people to build a range of life skills in addition to food preparation and cooking, in the North-east.

­The Ministry of Food programme at CFINE’s training kitchen is funded by Aberdeen City Council through ABZWorks as part of the local authority’s Young Person’s Guarantee commitment to provide every 16­­-24-year-old in the city with a place in education, training, employment or volunteering.

Jamie Oliver established the Ministry of Food project to increase food education and improve cooking skills, which are crucial to maintaining healthy communities and a healthy planet.

Fiona Rae, interim CFINE chief executive, said: “We are delighted to partner up with Jamie Oliver and Aberdeen City Council. It is an honour to be the first organisation in Scotland to make this fantastic programme available to communities.

“At CFINE, food is at the heart of what we do. We believe in communities where everyone can reach their full potential in life and helping people learn vital life skills like cooking is necessary to achieve that.

“Not only have we launched the Ministry of Food programme; our team members have completed their training and Cook at the Nook, our fully-equipped training kitchen, has seen the first cohort of young aspiring cooks complete the eight-week programme.”


Budding cook, Taylor Brannigan (17) with Aberdeen City Council leader councillor Jenny Laing.

Aberdeen City Council leader Jenny Laing said: “Cooking and the ability to cook healthy meals on a budget are essential life skills. But cooking isn’t just about making nice food, it also supports literacy, numeracy, budgeting, health, confidence, social skills and employability skills.

“Aberdeen City Council is committed to supporting our young people to learn, to improving health outcomes, and to tackling poverty. This programme will contribute to all of these things and link young people to a range of other services to support them on their journey. The aim is to support them towards work, education or further training through the Young Person Guarantee.

“As well as providing funding for the programme, we’ve ensured that every young person completing the programme will receive a slow cooker, which can be used for cooking a range of soups, main meals, and even cakes, using minimum power, and membership of CFINE’s larder so they can buy healthy food at low costs.”

Classes take place face-to-face in Cook at the Nook, but back-up plans are in place so that the courses can continue in the event of any future CV19 restrictions.

For more information about ABZWorks and Young Person’s Guarantee opportunities call 01224 346100 or email