Chef shows youngsters how to cook

THE worlds of fine dining and microwave meals came together when the head chef at North Walsham's Beechwood Hotel took time out on Friday to give a quick cookery lesson to some of the town's homeless.

THE worlds of fine dining and microwave meals came together when the head chef at North Walsham's Beechwood Hotel took time out on Friday to give a quick cookery lesson to some of the town's homeless.

Last month, the kitchen at Winston Court - a Benjamin Foundation-run hostel for people aged 16 to 25 - was refurbished to encourage residents to get cooking and learn to fend for themselves.

Social worker Ian Jansens said meal times were often uninspiring. 'There's lot of 'ding-ding' meals - microwave meals, simple beans on toast, or some of the more adventurous ones have jacket potatoes and beans, or cheese at the weekend maybe,' he said.

So on Friday, four of the hostel's nine residents were shown how to cook vegetable curry, mushroom risotto and a pasta sauce from scratch by Steven Norgate.

The chef, who has worked at the Beechwood Hotel on Cromer Road for 13 years, may be more used to dishing up brie than beans, but he insists the basic principles are much the same.

He said: 'At the Beechwood, we use all fresh produce. Here, it's doing fresh produce only on more of a budget. It's down-grading on cost but not the flavour.'

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Natasha Canham has lived at Winston Court for 15 months after problems at home left her sleeping on a friend's sofa.

Although she is one of the more confident cooks at the hostel, the 18-year-old said the lesson would be a huge help when she moved in to her own home next week.

She said: 'I will try to cook these meals. They sound fancy and they are different to what I normally eat.'

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