MasterChef star and celebrity chef John Torode cooked up a storm as he joined older people from our Come Eat Together project at a special lunch yesterday(Tuesday 15 July).
The Australian-born TV presenter and restaurateur visited our monthly Dining Circle in East Stanley where he dished out top marks to our campaign to be named the UK’s Best Health project in this year’s National Lottery Awards.
His visit was organised for us by the National Lottery Good Causes to help demonstrate how their funding is spent making a difference to people and communities. It was a great boost for us as we are hoping to see our work celebrated at the star-studded National Lottery Awards on BBC One in September. John’s visit helped us to demonstrate how our project aims to improve older people’s diets and allow them to cook and enjoy healthy food together through a series of lunch clubs and dining circles.
John joined volunteers in the kitchen and helped to serve meals before sitting down to enjoy a traditional wholesome north-east meal of mince dumplings, new potatoes and fresh vegetables with Eton Mess for dessert. He said:
“A healthy and nutritious diet is crucially important at all stages of life. But Come Eat Together is so much more than just cooking. It was delightful to see how cooking and dining brings so many people together and can help combat isolation and loneliness amongst older people. Come Eat Together gets top marks from me – their food was delicious and their company even better. National Lottery players can be proud to have supported their work.”
Harriet Gibbon, Chief Executive of Age UK County Durham, added:
“We were delighted to have John Torode with us today. Our lunch clubs and dining circles are tremendous social occasions and an extremely important part of peoples’ lives. Many older people are lonely but they put on a brave face.
Come Eat Together provides a vital network which allows older people to live an independent and active lifestyle whilst improving their ability to access, grow, cook and enjoy healthy food together. We hope the public will recognize the work we carry out and vote for us to be named the UK’s Best Health Project.”
To vote for Come Eat Together, please visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/project/come-eat-together or telephone 0844 836 9699 and follow the campaign on twitter: hashtag #NLAwards. Voting runs until midnight on Wednesday 23 July.
We found John to be very friendly and he had a real laugh with us. He also really understood how loneliness and malnutrition can go hand in hand. We had reporters, photographers and film crews. It was all rather exciting! Below you can see a slide show of photographs from John’s visit, including what we called ‘Media madness’!
A big thank you to John and the National Lottery Good Causes team for a great day!