College girls’ recipe for success

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Staff from Mars Food UK have taken part in a volunteering project to help educate children about the food they eat, where it comes from and to get them excited about cooking at home.

Fifty employees took part in the initiative last month as part of the Ben’s Beginners campaign.

Ben’s Beginners was launched in 2014 to help encourage families to cook together and address the fact that more than a quarter of UK parents admit never cooking with their children.

It was launched with an online family cooking channel, focused on getting kids and their parents back into the kitchen, learning to cook and having fun in order to nurture a lifelong good relationship with food.

Mars Food staff and The Children’s Food Trust visited seven schools across Leicestershire - including Old Dalby Primary and John Ferneley College - delivering activities as part of the campaign.

Primary school events included learning about food sources and seasonality and a practical cooking experience. The Mars team also worked with Year 7 students at John Ferneley - an event including a business skills element.

Mars Food UK corporate affairs executive Angie Phillips said: “The objective was for students to work in teams with a Mars Food UK business mentor to investigate barriers to home cooking and design an affordable recipe encouraging families to cook together at home. They then pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. The winning team was filmed cooking their recipe for the Ben’s Beginners YouTube site.”

The winning ‘MG Foods’ team, made up of Millie Roberton, Mia Brooks, Mariah Morrish and Grace Weston, designed a ‘Bang Tidy Steak’ recipe which was a warm steak salad. Judges felt their recipe considered price, health and elements the whole family can get involved in, meeting the objective to encourage families to cook together at home.

The girls were invited to Mars Food UK’s Waltham HQ to cook the recipe in a professional theatre kitchen, where it was filmed ready to share on the Ben’s Beginners YouTube site at the end of January.

Andrew Major, enterprise zone director at John Ferneley, said “The girls are a credit to the college and I thank Mars Food UK for getting involved with us to enhance students’ understanding of business.”

l See the girls in action later this month at