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Recipe for a healthy life

PUBLISHED: 15:15 25 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:24 25 August 2010

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A MASTERCHEF finalist says children need to be kept away from takeaways and must learn to cook for themselves.

A MASTERCHEF finalist says children need to be kept away from takeaways and must learn to cook for themselves.

Andy Oliver, 27, visited Bexley Grammar School to sample to winning entries to the school's own 'Masterchef' competition and impart some culinary knowledge, on Tuesday.

The aspiring chef told the Times he had been 'gutted' at losing the taxing amateur cookery show aired in February, but was impressed by the students' efforts.

He said: "It's a basic necessity in life to be able to throw a meal together, to look after yourself, and parents should make sure their kids can.

"It's also something a lot of people might really enjoy, but you won't know until you try it.

"Everyone should be involved in their kitchen. You don't have to be obsessive like me, but kids should know how to cook a meal and I'm glad Bexley Grammar is encouraging them."

Jamie Oliver's school dinners campaign, which saw more than 80 of Greenwich's schools switch to healthy menus, was praised by the Masterchef finalist for exposing Britain's poor eating habits.

He said: "Whatever you think about the program, it showed that there are people out there who get a takeaway every night and that's not interesting or healthy.

"It shows we still have a long way to go as a nation."

Teachers at Bexley Grammar School challenged Year 8 pupils to research and design a healthy meal for their school canteen that would cost under £1.50 per serving.

The winning entry, as judged by a panel of teachers, was Healthy Stir Fry Chicken which is now served in the school canteen with another entry.

Mr Oliver made an 'effortless' salad as an example of more relaxed food preparation that might interest youths. But the former Nottingham University business student admitted it was ruined preparation that saw him throw away his chance to win Masterchef.

He said: "I made some silly mistakes that I beat myself up over. I kept on asking myself 'why did you put sauce on your beef Wellington and let it go soggy like that?'

"That was one of the dishes I did that was rubbish. It took about six weeks for me to get over it and remember it was an amazing experience."

To view Mr Oliver's recipes, visit his blog at http://thecooksbroth.blogspot.com.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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