Many community food initiatives (CFIs) offer cooking sessions on learning to prepare affordable, healthy meals. If your project is planning to offer sessions or courses, below are some guides and toolkits to help you, together with reports on what other CFIs have learned. Many of the guides and toolkits include recipes but there are more in ‘Resources’ below, together with pictorial recipe books.
You’ll need an experienced or trained volunteer or staff member and a suitable kitchen to run sessions. If you don’t have these, there may be a project in your area that can deliver the sessions for you, and we list some that we know about below. It’s also worthwhile contacting your local NHS Health Improvement Team, Dietetic Department or Health Promotion workers to find out about cooking courses or trainers in your area.
Some areas have bespoke training kitchens available to hire, however cooking sessions can be run without access to a training or catering kitchen. Our publication What’s Cooking in Scotland? Part One provides examples of how some groups run cooking sessions with limited facilities, and has information about health and safety issues.
Guides and toolkits
- Good Food Handbook: setting up and running a cooking class, recipes, menu planning and food budgeting (Cyrenians)
- Healthy Cooking in the Community: a comprehensive manual for the delivery of practical cooking sessions to encourage healthier eating; includes recipes (NHS Ayrshire and Arran 2010)
- NHS Forth Valley Community Nutrition Resources: ‘how to run a cooking workshop’, recipes and food and kitchen safety information
- What’s Cooking? (PDF): a guide to setting up and running community and school food clubs (Food Standards Agency Scotland 2007)
- Cooking in the Community in 5 Easy Steps: manual developed by Community Food Workers in Fife (Fife Community Food Project)
- Ready, steady, ping! Microwave cooking resource developed by NHS Borders and Scottish Borders Council Joint Health Improvement Team.
Learning from other projects
- What’s Cooking in Scotland, Part One: how Scotland’s community food initiatives are addressing the challenges of setting up cookery courses within low-income communities, provides case studies of community cookery courses (CFHS 2012)
- What’s Cooking in Scotland, Part Two: how community food initiatives are finding out about the impact of cookery courses, provides case studies of how community cookery courses are evaluated. (CFHS 2012)
- What’s Cooking in Scotland, Part Three: tools and ideas to help you critically appraise your cooking skills courses
- TV Dinners: adapting TV formats to promote healthy eating and cookery skills (CFHS 2011
- Beyond Smoothies: developing cooking and healthy eating activities for young people (CFHS 2010)
Where to go for cookery sessions and courses
- Confidence to Cook: delivers healthy eating cooking sessions at its training kitchens in Aberdeen or other suitable venues across Grampian. Phone NHS Grampian Health Promotion Team 01224 558414 to find out more.
- Cyrenians Good Food: delivers cooking classes in their specially equipped kitchen.
- REHIS Elementary Cooking Skills: accredited course which is flexible and can be tailored to a wide range of audiences
- Leven Community Kitchen: practical cookery sessions – contact NHS Fife
- Get Shopping, Get Cooking is a Glasgow City Community Health Partnership delivers cooking sessions in some parts of Glasgow
- Healthy Valleys, Healthy Eating: offers a wide range of practical cooking sessions, using their own equipment, in community premises
- NHS Forth Valley community food workers provide cookery sessions to some groups in the area
- West Lothian Health Improvement Team, Get Cooking Project: delivers cookery courses in the area
- Food Skills sessions are available for some groups in the NHS Dumfries and Galloway area.
Where to go for more advice
Affordable, healthy recipesNote: many of the guides and toolkits above also include recipes
- Eat Better Feel Better: healthy costed recipes, handy hints and videos (Healthier Scotland)
- Munch Crunch 2: Recipes 4 Change (NHS Ayrshire and Arran 2010)
- Chat and Chaat: South Asian recipes from groups based in and around Edinburgh (CFHS and NHS Lothian 2012)
- Easy Cooking for You (PDF): developed by Glasgow City and East Dunbartonshire Community Health Partnerships (CHPs) and the University of Glasgow
- Get Sorted in the Kitchen: available to buy from Aberdeen Foyer provides weekly menus and recipes suitable for those on a budget.
- Simple Meals using canned and packet food. NHS Ayrshire and Arran has put together a range of tried-and-tested very easy recipes to make a quick basic meal.
Pictorial recipes and accessible healthy eating information
- Cyrenians Good Food - A pictorial recipe book: for people who have difficulty reading a standard text based recipe
- The FAIR Cookbook: recipes for people with learning disabilities (Family Advice and Information Resource)
- My Own Cookbook (PDF): a pictorial cookbook (NHS Fife)
- NHS Grampian Accessible Recipes: pictorial recipes, which are suitable for people with learning disabilities
- Healthy Eating, Healthy Living: this trainers' pack includes recipes for teaching healthy eating messages for people with a range of learning disabilities (Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability and the Glasgow Learning Disability Partnership).
- Cook your own takeaway: how to cook curries, pizzas and snacks (NHS Fife).
- Peel, chop and grate: shows the 'bridge hold' for chopping fruit and vegetables safely
- Cookalong Videos: how to cook various healthy and tasty meals (Eat Better Feel Better)
For more cooking resources view the full cooking section in our library here.