It is estimated that there are over 300,000 overweight and obese children in Ireland. The projections are that by 2015, over one third of Irish children will be overweight or obese.
Furthermore, Irish children suffer from a record number of dietary conditions, with a high rate of coeliac disease, osteoporosis and diabetes. By giving children the skills to produce appetising, nutritious dishes, Kids in the Kitchen attempted to tackle this growing epidemic.
Victoria Mackechnie left the world of finance and wealth management behind her in November 2008 to establish Kids in the Kitchen. She trained as a chef in the famous cooking school in Ballymaloe.
Passionate about children’s cookery, she set up the business to give primary and secondary school children the practical skills and nutritional understanding to make tasty, healthy meals for themselves. She provided the ingredients and equipment for the children to cook different dishes under her supervision, who then brought home their meals and recipes to share with their families. Victoria believes cooking is something children enjoy just as much as the finished product – sometimes even more!
A number of courses ran successfully in schools, and Victoria aimed to expand her courses to school children in underprivileged areas throughout the country. As of 2012, the program had been used in 25 Irish schools. Victoria travelled to locations throughout Ireland, conducting six, eight and ten-week courses that engaged not only the children, but their families and teachers as well.
The Ireland Funds assisted Kids in the Kitchen through the Grant Round enabled by the Promising Ireland Campaign. Thanks to this funding, over 100 additional children were able to participate in the Kids in the Kitchen program.
In 2010 Kids in the Kitchen partnered with FAST Kids to create ‘FAST Kids in the Kitchen’ - an initiative to get kids fitter and healthier through exciting physical exercise and delicious healthy cooking.
Today Victoria produces her own granola, Victoria’s Gourmet Granola, which is sold throughout Dublin and Meath. Victoria is also continuing her Whip It Up evening classes in chq, ifsc, Dublin 1 which are proving very successful as she takes on educating the after work masses in home cooking.
I want to show children that good quality healthy ingredients, cooked well, are delicious. This is an invaluable life skill from which all boys and girls can benefit hugely.