Fast food is not necessarily unhealthy food, especially if it’s made in Casino’s Oak Centre Community Kitchen.
The kitchen is hosting free ‘Faster Food’ cooking courses for local young people, under the watchful eye of chef Shane Runcinan, owner of Kyogle’s Twisted Tucker catering business.
The courses are funded under Healthy North Coast’s Healthy Towns initiative, which has a focus on youth and aims to enhance wellbeing and social connection.
There are three six-week Faster Food courses running at Casino in 2021, with the second starting this week and the third on 7 July. Held outside school hours, the lessons enable groups of youngsters aged 12 to 18 to learn cooking skills and create meals comparable to ‘fast food’ using healthy ingredients and techniques.
‘I’ve hired a nutritionist to work with me,’ Mr Runcinan said. ‘Our primary focus is around nutrition, good health and sourcing ethical food.
‘We targeted fast food with a view to creating tastier, healthier versions of the food that is readily available in Casino and worked backwards from that. I introduce the students to the basics of cooking and also teach basic and more advanced knife skills.
‘We need to understand again what nutrition is. We’ve lost connection with our food and how we get it. Food is medicine and my ultimate goal is to elevate and celebrate our indigenous foods.’
He says the students are ‘excited and enthusiastic’ to learn. He encourages them to think about what they eat and cook, what is seasonal, how they can cook healthy on a tight budget and also what they can do with leftovers.
So far, the most popular meal has been Mexican, with a close second going to a well-known fried chicken meal featuring homemade coleslaw, gravy and potato whip.
For more information about the upcoming course, contact Annika Olsson at Momentum Collective on 6662 2898. Momentum Collective oversees the coordination of the Healthy Towns program in Casino.