Meet our Ambassadors
Thanks to these fantastic, talented people for their help and support so far. Keep an eye out here to see what they’re up to with Cook School…
“I’m so excited to be part of Cook School and I will be helping by judging competitions, giving recipes to the courses and much more. I believe teaching our children the skills they need to cook for themselves will help them become happier healthier adults. So much joy comes from cooking with family and friends that can’t be experienced from a takeaway. If a child can grow up knowing how to cook a few basics, they will also be much more self-sufficient and independent. Plus kids love it!”
A California native, Claire Ptak now resides in London where she is the chef / owner of Violet Bakery. Alongside baking, Claire works extensively as a food stylist and writer.
Most recently Claire was commissioned to make the Royal Wedding cake for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, she created a bespoke cake installation for the couple using vanilla sponge, Amalfi lemon curd and elderflower Swiss meringue buttercream using Sandringham Estate’s elderflower cordial.
Claire is currently working on a new cookbook violetcakes.com
“Cook School is a fantastic platform to equip children with basic skills and knowledge to improve their nutrition and eating habits in a fun way. It’s also, hopefully an opportunity to share West African food cultures and ingredients with a new generation.”
Born to a Ghanaian father and Irish mother, Zoe deepened her understanding of West African cuisine after a trip to visit her extended family in Ghana. There, she spent time exploring recipes in her grandmother’s kitchen and at the famous Kaneshi street market, where she met with cooks who shared their own takes on traditional recipes. Named one of London’s hottest chefs by Time Out, her restaurant, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, and the debut cookbook of the same name are about taking people on and sharing an amazing food journey. Zoe is on a mission to bring African food to the masses and to see a world as well acquainted with Jollof as they are with tacos and a high street as diverse in its African cuisines as it is with it with Pan and South Asian food. Zoe’s debut cook book, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, is out now and is available on Amazon. www.zoesghanakitchen.co.uk
“I’m so excited to be getting involved. What Cook School does is crucial and much-needed in our schools. Cooking is a life skill that has long been underestimated by the education system – home ec was a joke at my own school and so poorly taught. Knowledge about how to cook and feed yourself well should be available to anyone and everyone, and starting with kids at school makes complete sense. Cook School teaches children how to cook for and nourish themselves, while having fun and being creative and this goes some way to supporting their health and happiness for life.”
Rosie Birkett is a cook, food writer and food stylist, and author of two cookbooks ‘A Lot On Her Plate’ and ‘The Joyful Home Cook’. Rosie has been writing about food for over a decade, working for the likes of The Guardian, The Independent on Sunday, Easyjet Traveller, Conde Naste Traveller, Red Magazine and Olive Magazine. She is particularly keen on seasonal cooking, and is on a mission to spread joy and inspiration for home cooks, believing that a deeper connection to the food we eat and where it comes from is crucial to supporting health, happiness and wellbeing. Rosie is currently a recipe columnist for BBC Good Food magazine and The Sunday Times, and regularly shares recipes and ideas on her Instagram page @rosiefoodie.
“I became an ambassador for Cook School to help educate children on the provenance and seasonality of food, and to teach the skills needed to lead a healthy lifestyle.”
Chantelle Nicholson is the multi-award winning Chef Patron at Tredwells in the West End and Group Operations Director for Marcus Wareing Restaurants, and has cooked at prestigious venues including The Savoy Grill and Pétrus. As one of the UK’s leading female names in the hospitality industry, Chantelle’s passions lie firmly in seasonal food, educating people and encouraging them to get into cooking at all ages. Chantelle believes food is life, and that the only way to ensure a future for everyone is through food. For her, teaching kids to cook is of paramount importance because it gives them a broad range of skills: organisation, time management and discipline, as well as allowing them to create something tangible. It’s for these reasons that she’s proud to be supporting Cook School. www. www.tredwells.com
“I love Cook School because it’s about having fun with food, and it’s inclusive and affordable. There’s no more urgent problem to fix than kids’ nutrition — and the only way to do it is by getting them excited by the stuff they put in their mouths. That’s what Cook School does.”
Stefan is a Gastronaut: a food adventurer who loves to play with his food and combine it with science. He likes his food to be naughty, fascinating and explosive and thinks kids learn best when they laugh, scream and get their hands mucky. He’s an award-winning TV presenter of 17 outrageous BBC TV series (including CBBC’s Gastronuts and Incredible Edibles), presents hundreds of food and science stage shows every year, and has written eight books, including the upcoming Fartology (out November 2018). www.thegastronaut.com
“I’m 12 years old. I adore every form of sports, singing, dancing, arts and cooking. I live with my 4 brothers, my dad and my amazing mum, who taught me how to cook. When I was young mum taught me how to make simple dishes, since then I fell in love with cooking. I think Cook School has helped me to love cooking even more.”
“I’ve had a real passion for cooking ever since my great gran gave me one of her homemade cupcakes. We cooked and baked together all the time and I learnt all of my skills from her. She was the most amazing cook I could have ever imagined. She taught me all I know and she is the reason I applied to become a Cook School Young Ambassador.”
I am interested in food because the day I first cooked, I realised that I wanted it to be my forever hobby, my daily routine, my everything. I cook regularly and often research recipes if I’m not making my own food. I also love teaching my younger siblings a few secret tricks to making a good meal.
“I have been in the kitchen since I could crack an egg. I was a busy toddler and would’t leave my mum alone when she was in the kitchen; I was always given little jobs. When my mum had to work, I went to my Granny’s and she kept me occupied baking cakes. I would find any opportunity to cook.”
On a Monday my Great Grandad comes for dinner. I cook him and my family a meal and try to make food healthier, for example I added leeks and courgettes to a light cheese sauce to make a delicious macaroni cheese. I would enjoy teaching children to cook beacuse I know what a great joy it is and how it can reduce stress levels. I would love for children to learn from me and for me to learn from them.
Noah, South East
“I think all kids should cook – it’s fun. I also find that it helps me to stay calm and focus when life gets stressful. I’m looking forward to learning and sharing recipes with Cook School.”
Noah is 12 and has two great passions – food and football. He’s always been goal driven and has done well playing for his school and Brighton & Hove Albion FC. Noah has travelled all over the world, eating everything in his path and has never been shy of tasting local delicacies, no matter how spicy or weird! He’s been experimenting in the kitchen since he was a toddler and his greatest influence has been his Grandmother’s cooking for friday night dinner!
“I think children should take photos of food, there is a lot of enjoyment in taking photos, I find it vey hard sometimes to take photos of food because my mouth waters so much. Yesterday we were in a restaurant and I saw a burger that was lit above it, I found the light interesting and took a photo. Pick up your camera and have a go, but always concentrate. Don’t always take too many photos, instead try to make each one special. Use your time for the photo. Good luck!”
Ruby won Young (10 & Under) category of Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2018, she is our first student ambassador. Ruby loves to take photos of food and wants to help encourage other children to have a go too.