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New venture helps youngsters learn essentials of preparing good food

L-R: left Kath Ward Cook Stars, Sian Wyndham Neath Port Talbot Council and Howard Thompson of Tata Steel subsidiary UKSE. Picture by Nick Treharne

Helping youngsters understand healthy cooking is the aim of a rapidly growing business in Port Talbot.

Food and Nutrition teacher Kath Ward recently launched her new venture Cook Stars and response to her cookery classes, parties and other events has been excellent.

Youngsters learn a broad range of cooking skills as well as how to use kitchen implements safely, and they are also encouraged to try foods they might not have had before.

Toddlers can even begin at the age of two in Cook Stars Mini, starting early to learn the benefits of preparing good, fresh food in a fun and enjoyable atmosphere.

Kath feels the importance of this at the present time is high. “We are seeing the cost of food soaring and putting pressure on families, and many are turning to less healthy options as a result.

“It is important to understand the basics of cookery and good eating and it is best to learn this at an early age. I am totally convinced it is something that benefits people throughout their life,” she said.

“The children enjoy the positive experience of making something, and at the same time they learn new skills. They are also exposed to new foods and this can be very helpful in widening the menu for fussy eaters.”

Cook Stars provides everything required for a fun session – aprons, ingredients and equipment – and the youngsters take home the food they have prepared as well as a recipe card. While their dish is cooking, they take part in a craft activity, which is also very rewarding.

Cook Stars caters for three age groups – Minis, Juniors and Academy for secondary school age children and young people. The firm works directly with schools, and also organises a range of private classes and bespoke parties.

The firm received a £500 Business Support Grant from Tata Steel subsidiary UKSE and Neath and Port Talbot County Borough Council which was used to buy essential equipment.

Howard Thompson Regional Executive for UKSE said: “We are very pleased to have been able to help launch Cook Stars which is playing an important role in the community. The firm is spreading the message that understanding how to cook fresh, healthy food is an excellent life skill, and the sooner one learns these abilities, the better.

“I am sure Cook Stars will be a great success and become a pillar of the local community in years to come.”

Sian Wyndham Grants Officer at Neath Port Talbot County Council commented: “Cook Stars is a great initiative and it was a pleasure to be able to support Kath in partnership with UKSE through their Community Support Programme.

“Cook Stars is teaching young children within the local community the importance of healthy eating and providing them with essential life skills that may serve them through to adulthood. We wish Kath every success and we look forward to seeing Cook Stars go from strength to strength.”