The School Food Trust (SFT) has made a bid for National Lottery funding to pay for a network of cookery clubs that it hopes will change schoolchildren's attitudes to food.
The scheme, dubbed Let's Get Cooking, is aimed at addressing the lack of basic cooking skills in many UK households and promoting healthy eating, SFT chief executive Judy Hargadon told delegates.
It is not intended to turn people into chefs, but instead build the confidence and interest in food in households that may have had no exposure to cooking through school or from parents, she said.
After a demonstration on how to prepare a dish and cook it, children and parents would be encouraged to try it together in their own homes.
"We envisage a network of clubs across the country which would be self-sufficient and not fade away over time as Government priorities shift, as they inevitably do," said Hargadon.
Even if the lottery bid was unsuccessful the organisation would push ahead with the scheme and rely instead on fundraising, she added.
The SFT was set up by the Department for Education and Skills in 2005 to transform school food and food skills.
People 1st skills gap facts
- Half of hospitality business start-ups fail within three years
- Less than half (47%) of micro-businesses train their staff compared with 90% of businesses with more than 200 staff
- More than half (54%) of hospitality managers do not bave a level 3 (management) qualification.
- 40% of chefs do not possess a minimum-level qualification to prepare and cook food from scratch
- 26,000 working chefs have no qualifications whatsoever