The celebrity chef also calls for every school-leaver to know how to cook 10 dishes and government action to combat junk food advertising

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver says all vulnerable children should be given free school meals and every pupil leaving education should know how to cook at least 10 dishes.

Speaking at the Future of Britain conference, organised by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change yesterday (18 July), the TV chef also called for children to be protected from junk food advertising – a move endorsed by Henry Dimbleby, the British businessman and co-founder of food chain Leon.

As reported in The Independent, Oliver highlighted London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s plan to make school meals freely available to all primary-aged pupils for 2023/24, a policy the chef suggested should be replicated across England.

Outlining his other priorities, the British chef said the country needed to “protect our children against junk food advertising”, and he added: “And if I had a wish for all of your children, it would be that every child left school knowing how to cook 10 recipes to save their life.”

He also criticised the impact of energy drinks, telling the conference he had been at schools and found that an “unbelievable” number of children were consuming the beverages for breakfast.

Oliver said voluntary action from the food sector “doesn’t work” as he called for greater intervention from government. He said there was “relentless” advertising on TV and online aimed at school pupils as he called for stronger rules on marketing campaigns.

Also speaking at the conference yesterday, Henry Dimbleby, who produced a National Food Strategy for the UK government last year, said more government intervention was required to regulate the advertising market and help fix Britain’s “broken” food system, The Independent said.

Dimbleby said both consumers and the food industry were “stuck” in a “junk food cycle” that only regulation could break.