Developing healthy eating habits is at the center of a new program called Food Revolution that is being launched in Cayman on Saturday, May 16.
The Food Revolution program, created by famed British chef Jamie Oliver, is a global campaign aimed at putting compulsory practical food education back on the school curriculum, including teaching children basic culinary skills.
The program has a specific focus on encouraging youngsters to grow ingredients and then prepare their own meals from scratch, encouraging a lifetime of healthy eating.
The program’s Food Revolution Day (this year on Friday, May 15) is celebrated across the globe in a campaign for important food issues, driving individuals and businesses to take part in impactful change and pushing governments to improve their food policies in support of better public health.
The program is spearheaded in Cayman by Maureen Cubbon, winner of the Cayman Cookout Amateur Chef Competition and an advocate for healthy eating. The launch event, in Gardenia Court, Camana Bay, features a cooking class led by Cubbon, with all youngsters receiving a take-home package, recipes, activities and a plant to encourage them to grow their own food at home.
“I am a big Jamie Oliver fan,” Cubbon said. “I admire him as a chef and a food educator for all ages.
“The goal of the program is to spark a Cayman food revolution by offering children focused food education and support in a fun and engaging way.”
According to observations by the Cayman Health Services Authority, 22 percent of schoolchildren in Cayman are overweight. Another 14.8 percent are at risk of becoming overweight.
“Diet-related illnesses are some of the world’s biggest killers,” Cubbon said. “Locally, our childhood obesity statistics are staggering and quite preventable. Children today are the first generation predicted to live shorter lives than their parents. These are just some of the reasons why it is important for people, especially children, to really start looking at what and how they eat.
“We need to move towards making meaningful changes and impacting children in a way that is effective, and I think the Food Revolution does that by offering fun and engaging ways to learn about food and cooking through interactive education.”
The local Food Revolution program will include interactive food lessons, nutrition support, promotion of local agriculture, take-home materials and access to valuable and practical tools. There will also be a free newsletter with recipes, resources, guides on eating local and other information from the Food Revolution Foundation.
Cubbon said she was inspired to launch the program here in Cayman after giving a talk on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution at last year’s TEDx SevenMileBeach event.
“The positive feedback inspired me to take it up a notch to make things happen here in Cayman,” Cubbon said.
“Cayman has a rich food- and health-focused culture – why not look at ways to introduce programs and events that will connect these two elements with an amazing global program like Food Revolution? What I really like about it is that it offers a fresh way of looking at teaching cooking, promote local agriculture and empowering people to think about their food sources.”
She adds: “In a world of convenient and processed foods, kids really have no idea where their food comes from and what choices are the better ones. Personal education, local collaborations and hands-on experience has led me to this point and the goal of making real change in Cayman.”
Cubbon aims to take the program to local schools in the fall.
The launch event will be from noon to 1 p.m. and costs $20 per child. Registration is at Bon Vivant. Call 623-2665.