Jamie Oliver to visit Ararat

CELEBRITY chef Jamie Oliver will visit Ararat as part of a Victorian campaign to fight obesity.

Health Minister David Davis and Oliver, pictured, will launch Jamie's Ministry of Food in the city later this year as part of a Victorian Healthy Eating Enterprise.

A Victorian Department of Health study, published in August last year, showed the overweight or obese rate for Ararat Shire was 59.2 per cent. The Victorian average is 48.6 per cent.

The Ministry of Food program teaches people basic cooking skills so they can make simple and nutritious meals from scratch.

The program is already established overseas and in other Australian states.

Mr Davis said the program was an important part of a Victorian Healthy Eating Enterprise initiative to promote healthy eating.

"The Baillieu government is partnering with The Good Foundation to set up Jamie's Ministry of Food, a cooking and nutrition education program, in Victoria,'' he said.

"This will include a fixed cooking school and mobile kitchen to deliver healthy cooking classes in 14 municipalities.

"The government has committed $2.87 million to The Good Foundation to support the delivery of the program here in Victoria, with The Good Foundation to work with partners such as The Good Guys to provide an additional $2.54 million.''

Jamie's Ministry of Food Australia program director Alicia Peardon said the ministry was a community-focused program that helped people improve their quality of life and health.

"Jamie's Ministry of Food is a practical solution to the problems of obesity and diet-related disease and a successful response to the lack of basic food skills in today's population,'' she said.

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