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Clerics get hot around the hob

18 July 2014

by a staff reporter

Diocese of Canterbury

Inspecting the produce: the Revd Lesley Jones (left) explains the contents of her challenge-bag, at the Kent County Show at Kent Showground, on Friday

Inspecting the produce: the Revd Lesley Jones (left) explains the contents of her challenge-bag, at the Kent County Show at Kent Showground, on Frid...

A CLERICAL cookery challenge set two priests to cook the best nutritious meal, using only items found in a typical foodbank parcel, in front of a live audience. They were given only 30 minutes.

The "Ready Steady Foodbank" challenge took place at last week's Kent County Show. The winner, the Priest-in-Charge of St Peter and St Paul, River, near Dover, the Revd Andy Bawtree, is a keen cook who has previously taken part in the Channel 4's cookery contest Come Dine With Me.

He used his staple ingredients - which included tinned mince, tomatoes, and baked beans - to cook up a chilli, served in a loaf of bread. His prize-winning meal beat the dish of the Assistant Curate of All Saints', Murston, Sittingbourne, the Revd Lesley Jones.

Mr Bawtree is involved in the Churches Together foodbank in Dover, and Ms Jones is co-ordinator of the Murston Community Bank, which is believed to be Kent's first such bank in a church.

Mr Bawtree said on Monday: "We wore our cassocks, and we had to share a hob. It was a bit of fun, but also raised awareness of what the Church can do. It is about bringing the love of God to bear where we are able to."

He was used to cooking on a budget, he said, having received free school meals as a child. Cooking and living on a stipend meant that he still had to be "creative" with his food budget.

Noel Beamish, from the project team at Dover Foodbank, said: "Nationally, the Trussell Trust has seen a 170-per-cent rise in the number of people given emergency food in the past year; and, locally, we provide a minimum of three days' emergency food and support to local people in need.

"As we rely solely on food donations to feed local people in crisis, anything that raises awareness of foodbanks and food poverty is a positive step."

The cookery challenge was organised by the diocese of Canterbury's Communities and Partnerships Framework, which works to support communities in the diocese by encouraging churches, groups, and organisations to work in partnership.

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