The easy option of a takeaway or pre-chilled dish from the supermarket cabinet is often the go-to supper for many men who find themselves alone or caring for a loved one at home.
But if they are lucky enough to live in or near Lewes, there’s now an imaginative alternative.
The Community Chef, Robin van Creveld, is launching a series of courses called Man with a Pan. This is an award-winning cookery programme for older men. The first course ends this month but more will run in November and the New Year.
Robin said: “We have run this programme successfully for two years in Surrey and Kent and have had fantastic national media coverage. Thanks to funding from the National Lottery’s Awards for All we’re running Man with a Pan courses and ongoing community cookery activities from our base in the Lewes Community Kitchen.”
Seven years ago Robin and his team took on a semi-derelict industrial unit in Phoenix Works, North Street to create the Community Kitchen. They now run in-house cookery and bakery classes, workshops, cookery leader training and food hygiene training for private individuals, community and commercial organisations. Event catering operations are based there and they also host lunch and supper clubs, food and film nights.
But Man with a Pan takes the initiative a step further by addressing a specific and too often hidden need. Robin points out the courses are an opportunity for older men to learn to cook - many will have relied on a partner to handle things in the kitchen and find themselves bereft when they are on their own or looking after family members no longer able to care for themselves.
He went on: “It’s an opportunity for older men to learn to cook, be creative, meet new people, build self-confidence and eat delicious food.
Students learn how to prepare delicious, stress-free, affordable and healthy meals in fun and supportive environment.
“The men share a meal and take extra meals home. We focus on essential cookery skills and healthy eating, with additional skills such as menu planning, budgeting and food hygiene woven into the course. We build in trust and communication activities as well as everyday mindfulness practices. We also run a follow up sixth session and reunion four weeks later there’s a reunion where the men prepare a community feast for friends and family. Courses are open to all but priority places are for older generation men who are carers, live alone or are in need.”
And there’s even a Man with a Pan recipe book now available to buy, containing tried and tested recipes that are perfect for any aspiring cook - not even necessarily a man - who wants to learn.
Each five-week course costs just £10. The next one in Lewes is from November 7-December 5 followed by courses in the New Year: January 16-February 13 and March 5-April 2. They run from 11am-2pm. Courses have an upper limit for numbers so pre-booking is essential via: email@example.com or ringing: 07766 526217.