England footballer Marcus Rashford and Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge have joined forces with their celebrity friends to offer back-to-basics recipe ideas and culinary tips for low-income families to help tackle food poverty.
The Manchester United striker, who last year forced the Government to extend free school meal provision for hard-up children, said he wanted the social-media based weekly tutorials – which will also feature famous faces from the worlds of sport, music and television – to inspire people to make easy but healthy meals on a budget.
His latest campaign, named Full Time: Get Cooking With Marcus And Tom, launches this Sunday coincides with the Government’s Healthy Start payment scheme, which supports low-income households with grocery shopping.
The duo’s 52 tutorials will be posted on Instagram every Sunday, and cover recipes including fish pie, Mexican-style chicken, and Rashford’s childhood favourite, spaghetti Bolognese, as well as lighter courses such as overnight oats and sandwiches.
Rashford, a self-confessed novice in the kitchen, will take part in around 20 video “how-to” sessions, with celebrity guests such as broadcaster Fearne Cotton and fitness guru Joe Wicks among those substituting in to join Kerridge, 47.
The pair said they were inspired to join forces due to their personal experiences of growing up in single-parent households on low incomes.
Rashford, 23, told reporters ahead of the launch: “Is it fair if people go hungry?
“No it’s not, it’s unfair if somebody goes to sleep without eating a meal.
“I want it to get to a stage where, worst case scenario, everybody has to be at least eating three meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, that’s my aim.”
He said the Full Time campaign sought to dispel any fears of cooking for those with limited skills.
“Sometimes a lot of people are afraid of mistakes (in the kitchen), so if a lot of kids engage with it then it will be a lot of fun,” he said.
Drawing on memories of going hungry as a child, Rashford added: “I remember sometimes at school I would fall asleep – I just hadn’t eaten food, I wasn’t awake, so I would just literally fall asleep.
“So I can see how it has an effect on their ability to learn and concentrate in class.
“Some of these kids may dream to be a scientist but imagine if they’re in science class but they’re always tired – I don’t want that to happen.”
Rashford said he wanted the initiative to help remove the sort of “embarrassment” his mother Melanie felt when using food banks, and described the stigma attached to state-funded programmes such as Healthy Start vouchers as “the most silly thing I’ve ever heard”.
Kerridge praised Rashford for his enthusiasm in the kitchen, and described the other household names taking part in Full Time as “a total mixed bag” in terms of their culinary ability.
“Some are pretty component, others used a bit of creative licence adding their own personal touches to the recipe which as a professional chef I absolutely love,” Kerridge said.
“I don’t care what level anyone is – just get in the kitchen and have some fun, it’ll all be fine and you’ll have something tasty to eat – what I can say is Joe Wicks is on the same page as me concerning pineapple and pizza.”
Healthy Start vouchers equate to £4.25 per child under the age of four each week to spend on items such as fruit, vegetables and pulses – ingredients celebrity chef Kerridge said are fundamental to the Full Time campaign’s recipes.
Kerridge, well known for his two Michelin-star Hand And Flowers in Marlow, told reporters: “Normally the audience I reach out to is a foodie audience, they already know how to do things, they just want to improve.
“This is like learning to ride a bike – right at the beginning, with stabilisers – it’s learning peeling carrots, peeling potatoes, dicing onions, it isn’t making tagines or braising beef briskets.”
He said there was “no silver bullet that solves the issue” of food poverty, but added: “What we are trying to do is encourage those who are in that more disadvantaged area … to get more for their money.”
Recipes will be posted weekly on the @FullTimeMeals Instagram page. The first one goes live on April 25.