SHAK: Healthy Chef project

SHAK: Healthy Chef project

SHAK: Healthy Chef project 2560 1707 Antonia Msimanga

Community cooking at Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate

The rising cost of food is making it harder for many of us to cook healthy meals. But our community partner, the South Hampstead and Kilburn Community Partnership (SHAK), is tackling food inequality through its Healthy Chef project. Based at Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate, SHAK is helping residents to confidently make nutritious, low-cost meals.

We spoke to Anita, SHAK’s Health and Wellbeing Tutor to find out more.

Woman standing outside community centre

“The Healthy Chef project is to help empower the estate’s residents to feel more confident cooking. Families come to the sessions to learn healthy, budget-friendly recipes together. Our youngest chef is just three years old!”

“Our sessions give parents and children the opportunity to cook meals together. Some households may not have big kitchens which makes cooking as a family hard. Our community centre offers them a space to work together easily and to socialise with other families. They tell me they love spending time together as a family.”

Woman cooks with her two children

“I teach simple recipes that can be made as lunches or dinners – like egg muffins, omelettes, and healthy pizzas. Nutrition is so important – budget meals can still be healthy. While I’m teaching, I always explain the nutritional value of each ingredient so that residents know what vitamins are in the meals.”

“At each session, we add the cost of the ingredients up and compare it to ready-made meals. Yes, making the meals from scratch takes longer but it’s cheaper and healthier, and the families spend quality time together.”

“They tell me they love spending time together as a family.”

Anita, Health and Wellbeing Tutor at SHAK

“All of the ingredients for the sessions are provided by SHAK and each family takes a bag of ingredients away with them so that they can make the meal again at home.”

Find out more about SHAK’s work at

This project has also received funding from the Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate Tenants and Residents Association.

SHAK received support from the Council’s Cost of Living Crisis Community Response Fund | Learn more about the fund

Support with food

If you’re struggling to afford food, please call us on 020 7974 4444 (option 9) or visit

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