Introductory statement:A lack of cooking skills and cooking confidence has been associated with poor food choices and higher consumption of foods prepared outside of the home. Reduced opportunities to learn to cook have contributed to declining cooking skills; as a result, community based cooking skills programs have proliferated, aiming to promote cooking skills and cooking confidence.
Whilst Jamie’s Ministry of Food is the most well-known cooking skills program, it has not yet been formally evaluated. This study evaluates the immediate and sustained effectiveness of Jamie’s Ministry of Food in Australia on individuals’ cooking confidence and cooking/eating behaviours.
The evaluation used a quasi-experimental repeated measures design. Adult participants who registered for the program from November 2011 - December 2013, were invited to participate. A questionnaire was administered at baseline (T1), immediately post program (T2) and 6 months post completion (T3) for participants allocated to the intervention group, while wait list controls completed it 10 weeks prior to program commencement (T1) and at program commencement (T2). A linear mixed model approach was used to determine mean differences within and between groups over time.
Intervention group assessment completion: 694 (T1), 383 (T1 + T2), 214 (T1, T2 + T3); control group: 237 (T1) and 149 (T1 + T2). Statistically significant increases within the intervention group (p<0.001) and significant group*time interaction effects (p<0.001) were found in all cooking confidence measures between T1 and T2 as well as cooking from basic ingredients, frequency of eating vegetables with the main meal and daily vegetable intake ( 0.52 serves/ day increase). Statistically significant increases at T2 were sustained at T3 in the intervention group.
Jamie’s Ministry of Food improved participants’ cooking confidence and cooking/ eating behaviours and is a promising population strategy to influence healthy eating.