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Chef’s farm cookery videos will help children learn during the lockdown

PUBLISHED: 16:37 22 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:34 22 April 2020

Norfolk chef Charlie Hodson has joined forces with Old Hall Farm in Woodton to produce educational cooking videos for the farming industry's #LockdownLearning project. Picture: Joe Preston

Norfolk chef Charlie Hodson has joined forces with Old Hall Farm in Woodton to produce educational cooking videos for the farming industry's #LockdownLearning project. Picture: Joe Preston

Joe Preston

A Norfolk chef has teamed up with farmers to produce educational videos aimed at bringing countryside food knowledge into family homes during the lockdown.

Jersey dairy cattle at Old Hall Farm in Woodton. Picture: Joe PrestonJersey dairy cattle at Old Hall Farm in Woodton. Picture: Joe Preston

Charlie Hodson filmed the four-part cookery series at Old Hall Farm in Woodton, between Norwich and Bungay, as part of the #LockdownLearning initiative launched earlier this month by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and the team of farmers at EatFarmNow.

The project aims to help parents by providing online resources, activities and videos to teach children about food, from farm to fork, while schools are closed during the coronavirus crisis.

Mr Hodson’s videos feature the chef’s expert tips on baking bread, cheese scones, pizza and sausage rolls, as well as a tour of the farm with co-owner Rebecca Mayhew to introduce the Jersey dairy cows and how their raw milk is used to make cream and butter.

He said it was challenge filming in the kitchen while observing social distancing rules – but he hopes the results will help inspire children to learn about food and farming at a time when they may be restricted from visiting the countryside for themselves.

Norfolk chef Charlie Hodson has joined forces with Old Hall Farm in Woodton to produce educational cooking videos for the farming industry's #LockdownLearning project. Picture: Joe PrestonNorfolk chef Charlie Hodson has joined forces with Old Hall Farm in Woodton to produce educational cooking videos for the farming industry's #LockdownLearning project. Picture: Joe Preston

“I thought if kids at home can get an insight into how a farm works, how cereals are grown and how cheese is made, then it was something I wanted to do,” he said.

“The countryside is such a great learning tool, which a lot of people cannot get to at the moment. If people cannot walk out in the countryside now, hopefully they will be able to refer back to this after the lockdown period is over.

“It is the reverse of what we are usually doing. Normally we take kids out on a farm walk and then get them to learn to cook from home. This is the other way round, but it is still very valuable.

“This is an amazing initiative and I am very proud to be a part of it.”

READ MORE: Farming celebrities back ‘Lockdown Learning’ project for home-schooling children

Mr Hodson said he was keen to find new ways to connect with food consumers after his kitchen at the Crown Inn at Northwold was closed.

“Cheffing is in our DNA,” he said. “When everything closed down it was like losing your DNA. It was like telling an artist they cannot pick up a brush.

“As chefs our lives are consumed by cooking for people and having them enjoy it. Most of the chefs I have spoken to have been able to maintain that by cooking for the NHS, for residential homes or by helping the emergency services. There are some amazing stories out there.

“For me, it is about making people aware of these farming connections. I have been all over the country and taught in schools and colleges and when kids ask what kind of cows semi-skimmed milk comes from, you need to break those barriers down and show that there is a lot of work that has gone into their food before their parents put it on their plates.

“I think it is down to us, not just as chefs but as adults and parents, to teach kids where there food comes from.”

Mr Hodson, a passionate advocate for Norfolk food and drink, also runs a campaign called Charlie’s Norfolk Food Heroes and is an ambassador for Hospitality Action, which is co-ordinating an emergency appeal to support hospitality workers suffering from mental or physical ill-health amid the coronavirus pandemic.

For more LockdownLearning videos and activities, see the EatFarmNow website.


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