In 2015 the Jamie’s Ministry of Food program was delivered in an Indigenous community for the first time. Indigenous Australians experience a higher burden of chronic disease (over 70% of Indigenous Queenslanders are overweight or obese), lower life expectancy and far worse health outcomes than non-Indigenous Australians. This Indigenous pilot, developed in consultation with community elders, was a step forward in delivering the Jamie’s Ministry of Food program to where it’s needed most.

Cherbourg is Queensland’s third largest Aboriginal community. With a SEIFA index of 555.7 it is the second most disadvantaged community in the State. Located in South East Queensland, Cherbourg is located within Wakka Wakka tribal boundaries and bordering onto Gubbi Gubbi (Kabi Kabi) territory to the east.

Community Consultation

Stakeholder engagement was a key focus to ensure positive and strong working relationships with stakeholders in Cherbourg.

The Good Foundation met with key local community organisations, as part of the planning process to discuss the program and determine how to adapt it to local needs.

Adaptations to the program

The program was adjusted slightly in its delivery, fee and recipe selection. Recipes were adapted to accommodate “batch cooking” for large families, diabetics, healthy dessert options, ingredient substitution with traditional foods and “bush tucker” and ingredient accessibility. Consultation with the community also uncovered a love of spicy food.

186 participants enrolled and participated in the Mobile Kitchen program. 62% of participants in the program were concession card holders and 10% had a disability.

Community engagement

The Mobile Kitchen team worked with a range of local organisations. Produce was donated to the Aged Care Home, the women’s refuge and the Yurri Muntha Cafe, which gives free meals to people in need and also offers hospitality training to young people. The team also worked with the Healthy Bodies Healthy Minds Breakfast program to deliver a free hot breakfast to children on their way to school. The breakfast program is provided by Cherbourg Alcohol and Drug service.

Community group bookings in Cherbourg

There were a number of notable community group experiences where participants really connected with the program. These included a women’s group that offered a cross cultural experience for the Mobile Kitchen team as the participants shared their own recipes with the trainers and spent part of each class engaged in discussions on recipe modification and how traditional foods could be incorporated into each recipe.

The local police also booked in a group of 8 young boys aged 12 to 16 who attended with 4 supervisors. The boys told the team they had never cooked anything other than 2-minute noodles prior to attending and demonstrated their enthusiasm for the program with strong attendance rates, proudly taking home the meals they prepared on board the Mobile Kitchen to their families at the end of each class.

Community feedback

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. When asked what could have been done differently the answers were either:
“Stay longer!”
“Get Jamie Oliver to Cherbourg.”

The evaluation of Cherbourg participants found...

93% found there was a good balance between nutritional information and practical skills
85% now cook more meals at home as a result of participation
94% found classes easy to understand
93% found the recipes enjoyable
94% found trainers fun and engaging
87% shared the recipes with friends