More than twenty students from two boarding schools participated in a healthy cooking class delivered by the Brisbane City Night branch of the Queensland Country Women’s Association (QCWA). 

Chicken and vegetable stir-fry and sticky date and pear muffins were just some of the recipes prepared, cooked and enjoyed together on Sunday (8 March). 

Held at Somerville House, the workshop brought together boarding students from both Somerville House and Brisbane Boys’ College.  

Country Kitchens is a QCWA initiative, funded by the Queensland Government, which focusses on supporting people in regional, rural and remote Queensland to improve their health by adopting healthy eating practices.

Ms Fiona McKenzie, a Brisbane City Night branch member and the State Program Manager for Country Kitchens, said she was delighted to extend the Back-to-Basics cooking classes to young people in inner-city residential living.    

“We hope these students will learn the five key messages to making healthy choices; getting more fruit and vegetables into your meal, the value of cooking at home and checking your portion sizes, to name a few,” Ms McKenzie said.

“A bonus would be for the young people to learn that Country Kitchens is part of an active movement of country women who are concerned about the health of children and young people,” she said.

“We are passionate about the next generation and their confidence in the kitchen.”

Head of Boarding at Somerville House, Ms Frances Greene said she was thrilled to have the opportunity partner with the QCWA and Country Kitchens program.

“Taking the students through recipes step-by-step and educating them on safe food handling and storage; healthy eating, and tips on how to use the same ingredients in other recipes to eliminate food waste, will be very useful for these young people who are nearing the end of their schooling,” Ms Green said.

“It is vital that we teach our older girls how to self-manage, making good decisions post-school in the areas of health and wellbeing,” she said

“For the girls from outback areas, working with the QCWA may have provided them with a little taste from home today.”

“For the other girls who may come from overseas or live closer to the School, the cooking class has provided an opportunity to become familiar with the valuable work of this organisation.”

Somerville House Boarder Captain Thyra T said she really enjoyed learning about healthy food choices in a workshop and then putting the key messages into practice. 

“All of the boarders enjoyed cooking together in small groups, and of course, trying the food at the end of the workshop,” Thyra said.

“It was fun cooking with the boys; we were was surprised that they knew so much about the nutrients in food,” she said.

“The cooking class really made you aware of how important it is to cook at home and be in control of what you eat.”

For more information about the CWA Country Kitchens program visit