Levenmouth group cooks up success

Leven Community Kitchen 5th anniversary celebrations - Ian Anderson, Lyndsay Clark, Catherine Nugent & Christopher Trotter  - FPA
Leven Community Kitchen 5th anniversary celebrations - Ian Anderson, Lyndsay Clark, Catherine Nugent & Christopher Trotter - FPA
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Five years of the community kitchen in Levenmouth were celebrated at a special event on Thursday.

Nearly 1500 people have donned their aprons and got their hands dirty since the kitchen opened in 2010, with the mandate of creating a local, non-threatening, easy-access environment, where groups and individuals could learn to cook or develop their existing skills.

It was great to see some familiar faces today and I hope the next five years are just as successful as the last five have been.

Lyndsay Clark

From six month courses, one off demonstrations and kids cooking classes, the kitchen has been made completely accessible to all, hosting young and old, experienced chefs and complete beginners.

A number of local groups and charities have also used the facility including Fife Community Food Project, Homestart Leven, Fife Gingerbread, Fife Young Carers, and the Dalgairn Centre.

The kitchen was the brainchild of Lyndsay Clark, senior health promotion officer with NHS Fife, who told the Mail: “When we first started talking about the creation of the kitchen, I believed in it but didn’t know if others would share my passion, But just look at it now - it’s unbelievable.”

She added: “Ultimately, aside from its confidence and skill development qualities, the most rewarding aspect of the kitchen for me has been the role it has played in reducing social isolation. By the end of their time cooking, many people find themselves not only self-sufficient in the kitchen, but they have also made new friends, many of whom they will stay in touch with. It was great to see some familiar faces today and I hope the next five years are just as successful as the last five have been.”

Christopher Trotter, Fife’s food ambassador, was there to open the kitchen five years ago and was back on Thursday to celebrate its success.

“It is just fantastic to see it doing so well,” he said.

“There are so many things happening here catering to all the different needs in the community.

“What is most moving for me is that fact there is a woman here today who came along to the kitchen when her child was close to weaning and she admitted that she hadn’t cooked much. She was able to realise the importance of cooking fresh food and she will then teach her child that’s what you need to do - stay away from the microwave and get along to Farmers Markets where fresh produce is available.”

Iain Anderson, from the Fife Community Food Project run by Fife Council’s Community Learning and Development department, said it was important to make the kitchen accessible for all.

“We are here in part to build positive food messages through community learning. We don’t preach, we are never patronising, there’s no right way - you just have to understand the group you are dealing with and every need is different.”

One major success story from kitchen is the Cook Well, Live Well group, which ended up producing a hugely successful recipe book and cards all aimed at those cooking for one. Jeanette Fraser and Jan Duncan, both members of the group, were there to celebrate. the kitchen’s success, alongside Councillor Jim Young who praised Lyndsay and the team for their passion in making the project work.