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Cactus Kitchens


08 March 2016 17:00



Girls and boys from the Providence House Youth Club in Clapham got their hands doughy recently when they visited their neighbourhood culinary hotspot, The Michel Roux Jr Cookery School to bake bread and make butter from scratch.

Cookery School director Anna Ratcliffe is keen to build on the success of the 2015 Battersea Summer Scheme when local youngsters took over the cookery school kitchen and dining room to gain a taste of the hospitality industry. “We have a fabulous resource here which we are eager to share with young people in our community to open their eyes to opportunities in the hospitality and catering industry.” So when Esther Clevely, Senior Youth Worker at Providence House invited Michel Roux Jr Cookery School to participate in two of the youth club’s latest initiatives for 12-16 year-olds, the Little Miss and the Wise Guys projects, Anna Ratcliffe was delighted to throw open the kitchen again and the kids were thrilled to return.

Besides offering a great day out and some tasty creations to take home, the cooking days have a serious purpose. Designed to teach valuable life skills, and emotional and physical wellbeing, both Little Miss and Wise Guys challenge stereotypes and discourage anti-social behaviour and isolation. There is a waiting list to join the Little Miss project which tackles issues faced by young women. Says Clevely, “it gives the girls an opportunity to talk about their feelings and exposes them to new ideas, experiences and perspectives in a creative way”. And with International Women’s Day this week it is good to be reminded that although male chefs still dominate many professional kitchens, women are increasingly stealing the limelight and serving as inspiring role models for young women and girls. Monica Galetti, renowned as a formidable judge on Masterchef: The Professionals, is a regular guest chef at the Michel Roux Jr Cookery School.

Providence House has been serving the community around Clapham Junction for over 50 years and is an invaluable resource for young people and most importantly a safe space that is not school or home. The girls enrolled on the Little Miss project take part in a wide range of structured activities over a sustained period, dealing with fitness, healthy eating, inner and outer beauty, self-esteem and confidence. The length of the project means the participants can feel the benefits and rewards of consistent effort and perseverance and can it raise expectations and ambitions.

This spring the youngsters will be returning to the cookery school to take on several more culinary challenges, which will include a visit to Moens the local butcher and cooking and serving a meal. Anna Ratcliffe hopes participants, the girls in particular, will see that cooking is far more than an essential life skill, and can open the door to rewarding career opportunities and that the boys will see that a life in the kitchen is as valuable as carpentry or mechanics.

Notes to Editors:
Little Miss & Wise Guys Evening Cooking Experiences are taking place at The Michel Roux Jr Cookery School on the evenings of 10th & 17th February and 9th & 16th March.
Two further full day Cooking Experiences are taking place on 31st March and 1st April during the Easter holidays.
For Interview requests, press comment or pictures contact: Anna Ratcliffe, Director Michel Roux Jr Cookery School
Tel: 020 7091 4800

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Press Contacts

Anna Ratcliffe


Tel: 020 7091 4800

About Cactus Kitchens

Cactus Kitchens, home of the Michel Roux Jr Cookery School. Offering an array of unique cooking classes in London including the Saturday Kitchen Experience.

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