Bags of Taste delivers out of the bag thinking on its Mentored Home Cooking Course

People everywhere are suffering from Zoom fatigue as video conferencing replaces every day face-to-face interaction from doctor’s appointments, to job training, to chats with Granny.
bags of taste delivered ingredients
Participants on the The Mentored Home Cooking Course receive all the ingredients they need to make three recipes, so they can start cooking immediately from the comfort of their own kitchens

Our Mentored Home Cooking Course shows ‘out of the bag’ thinking by offering participants a chance at joining our award winning programme without having to commit to video calls. It has improved accessibility to our courses, rather than restricted it.

The course lets people cook in their own time and share their progress in a WhatsApp group, where they receive real time support from trained volunteers. Those without WhatsApp can pursue the course over the phone.

This allows us to break through the digital exclusion barrier where many people on low incomes do not have the ability to access professional software like Zoom.

The Mentored Home Cooking Course has been helpful for a range of people who struggled to access our in person courses previously, such as single parents whose crammed schedules mean they have sporadic time off and can’t make regular commitments as they juggle childcare, jobs and home-schooling during the pandemic.

It has also been beneficial for people who are socially isolated or suffer from anxiety and depression as they cook in an environment where they feel comfortable and secure – and the WhatsApp group interaction allows them to reach the outside world, breaking through the lockdown barrier.

One particular group we have been able to reach and help with the Mentored Home Cooking Course are people suffering from fibromyalgia and ME who have chronic pain that can sometimes stop them from cooking. The flexibility of the course means that they can cook on their good days and have a rest when they need it.

We understand the barriers that people face when learning to cook from scratch, and setting fixed cooking times and schedules or video conferencing with strangers would create additional difficulties for participants.

Participants on the course learn how to fit home cooking into their busy daily schedules and gain the confidence to make impressive-looking, and delicious-tasting meals.

Participants on the Mentored Home Cooking Course receive a free bag of ingredients to make three recipes (totalling seven portions) and during the course, volunteer mentors share cooking videos, food storage tips and food preparation advice mainly through WhatsApp.

After delivery of course ingredients, we give participants a two-week timeframe to complete all three recipes. We ask them to cook when they are free and on their own time, and they tell us when they are ready to cook the next recipe.

This autonomy in the cooking process builds confidence and encourages students to start fitting cooking into their daily lives.

Our most recent research has shown that participants who have completed the course can save up to £1,300 on their food shopping every year.

The Mentored Home Cooking Course showcases our ‘out of the bag’ thinking when it comes to lifting people out of poverty, and we are always on the lookout for new participants who could benefit from this course’s flexibility.

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