Centre: Jamie’s Ministry of Food Pop-Up

Location: Noarlunga, South Australia


Errington Special Education Centre offers reception to year 12 courses for students with an identified intellectual disability and other disabling conditions, providing quality teaching and care with individualised courses to enable students to achieve their full potential.
Errington Special Education Centre organised a group of 8 students between the ages of 14-17 to participate in the Jamie’s Ministry of Food cooking course in Noarlunga. The students are working towards completing their Food Handling Course and sold lunches to school teachers and staff.

Their teacher thought Jamie’s Ministry of Food would be an excellent opportunity for the students to build upon their cooking knowledge and experience in a community environment.

Custom course adjustments

A Jamie’s Ministry of Food Trainer worked with the school to make a few minor adjustments to the program to accommodate students and ensure the group received maximum benefit.

Some of the ingredients such as garlic and chili were a little challenging for students to handle safely so they were pre-chopped. The benchtop configuration of students was predetermined to minimise distractions.

The School organised 2 carers for the group and Jamie’s Ministry of Food had a wonderful volunteer to assist students with hands-on skills such as chopping, stirring and cleaning, to explain or confirm instructions and reassure students. The salmon class was a huge hit with the students with many of them trying salmon for the first time.

“Salmonrific!” – Peter
“It tastes amazing” – Brittany
“I don’t like it…. I love it!” – Tai
“The salad was good, the healthy stuff – fetta and bean shoots are fettarific!” – Sam

Life skills

Jamie’s Ministry of Food gave the students an increased knowledge and skills in food preparation and cooking. They loved trying new foods and learning about healthy eating and making the right choices. The course offered broader communication skills – students accepted instructions and listened to the Food Trainer, the volunteers and carers – not just the school teachers. They focused on modifying behaviour amongst the students with age appropriate responses to situations, working through challenges and accepting direction and redirection when a student was faced with a challenge.

The school is passionate about setting students up with skills for life and found that the Jamie’s Ministry of Food program was wonderful for increasing independence and confidence in the students’ everyday life. It was an opportunity to develop wider social skills, increased community access and to participate in society. The students developed increased emotional wellbeing, sense of self and a raised self-esteem through recognition of their achievements throughout the course.
“Catering pathways could prove a potential career post school. The students have created their own food business at school, we have access to the kitchens at our neighbouring main stream school and are currently completing the online ‘I’m Alert! Food Handling Course’. Jamie’s Ministry of Food was also an excellent opportunity for students to transfer skills out of the classroom and transition to a wider community environment.” – Karen, Teacher
Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia has been proven to work. An evaluation, conducted by Deakin University and The University of Melbourne showed that participants gained new cooking skills and food knowledge, were more confident to cook meals from scratch, increased their vegetable intake and spent less on take away foods.