TV chef Jamie Oliver brings his Ministry of Food to Stratford

TV chef Jamie Oliver is to expand his Ministry of Food healthy eating project by opening a centre in Stratford.

The Channel 4 star, 35, already has four centres in the north of England, but this will be his first in London.

The mobile unit will open its door in May and will provide cookery classes to encourage people to eat more healthily.

The centre of Stratford is home to more than 250 takeaways - reported to be the highest concentration in Britain.

And Newham also has one of the highest number of diabetes cases and its children are the fourth fattest in London.

Sessions at the Stratford Ministry of Food will focus on the preparation of food using fresh ingredients.

The centre has been planned for around two years and will take lessons to schools, community centres and businesses across Newham.

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A permanent base is planned for the near future.

Oliver said: “This is a day that I’ve dreamed about - the first Ministry of Food Centre in London.

“Knowing how to cook nutritious and delicious food using fresh ingredients is an essential life-skill but because it hasn’t been taught in schools for many years, we’ve got a couple of generations of people who don’t have the knowledge.

“Ministry of Food Centres offer that knowledge and because they’re staffed by local people, it’s like being taught to cook by your mates or your neighbours.”

Rosie Boycott, the chair of London Food, said: “This area of east London has high levels of obesity and illness linked to poor diets and I hope that this scheme along with the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will inspire local people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.”

The centre will be run by Leaside Regeneration and funded by NHS Newham, although it aims to be self-funding within three years.

The Jamie Oliver Foundation, the chef’s charity, licenses his name for a fee and provides recipes and other backing.