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As part of a new initiative to promote healthy eating and mental well being, the BBC’s ‘Grub Club’ visited campus on the Tuesday of week three to provide demonstrations for students.
The event featured both advice and information about good nutrition, as well as the opportunity to watch a number of student chefs preparing and cooking a selection of simple and healthy meals that Lancaster students were encouraged to try for themselves.
The event was originally intended to take place in Alexandra Square, but logistical difficulties led to it being relocated opposite the LUSU offices in Slaidburn House. Each demonstration took around thirty minutes, with the visiting chefs talking the audience through four different meals in an effort to showcase how quick and easy preparing healthy food can potentially be. The chefs have received huge critical acclaim for their collaborative book ‘Sorted: a recipe for student survival’. They cooked from it, a Portuguese chorizo soup, a Thai tuna burger, a Mexican chicken wrap, and a fillet of salmon with couscous, whilst also preparing a pecan and banana smoothie. Following the demonstration, students were encouraged to taste and rate the meals themselves. Despite the consistent rain throughout the day, the demonstrations were continually well attended, and the feedback from students wholly positive.
“We were really pleased with how the day turned out” said Pete MacMillan, the non-sabbatical LUSU Welfare officer. “The main aim was to raise awareness that you can cook good food cheaply, healthily, and affordably, rather than just going for a takeaway. We also wanted to show that these recipes don’t take a great deal of time to make. I think the day had a great impact, and it is a great campaign that says a lot without any dumbing down of the issue.”
Over thirty universities across the country signed up to take part in the national Grub Club initiative, arranging different demonstrations and events to promote the BBC’s message. Grub Club encourages students to make cooking and eating a communal activity, suggesting ideas such as organising Sunday roasts, exploring international cuisine, or holding cookery competitions amongst friends. The Grub Club website also contains a number of recipe ideas for students to try, including all of those cooked by the Sorted team at the Lancaster event.
The concept of Grub Club emerged out of the BBC’s wider mental health campaign, ‘Headroom’, which explores diverse issues such as alcoholism, depression and exam stress. Aiming to remove the taboos surrounding mental wellbeing, the campaign offers online resources to help students engage with the topic of mental health and to share their own experiences with others. Headroom is hoping to have an active presence not only across university campuses, but also at music festivals and other communal events held across the summer.