Chef on a mission to tackle obesity

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One of New Zealand’s most recognised chefs will be in town tomorrow on a mission to help tackle soaring obesity rates.

Michael Van de Elzen is visiting Ashburton Intermediate School from 12.20pm as part of an eight week tour to help children understand more about what is in their food and also how to cook.

The father of two has been spurred into action over his growing concerns about child obesity and new research from University of Auckland confirms that the issue is getting bigger.

“What I’ve found after working with groups all over New Zealand is that often it starts with the next generation. In most cases if you teach the children, they go home and teach their parents.

“Obesity causes lots of health problems and side-effects, but also behavioural issues, such as concentration and sleep, which then impacts on learning.”

It was not about reinventing the wheel, but changing up some kiwi favourites like fish and chips and pies, and adding a healthy, easy-to-cook twist to them.

He said being in the kitchen from a young age helped build that association with food and taught life skills while also knowing how to make healthy meals and snacks.

Van de Elzen has a new book out called The Good From Scratch Kids Cookbook.

His visit to Ashburton Intermediate School includes a cooking demonstration, question and answer session and book signing in the school hall.

Ashburton Intermediate has a strong focus on cooking food from scratch this term. Students from six classes will showcase and sell a number of their products at a big Market Day event in the school grounds on December 7.