Sainsbury’s cooking challenge for schools

Ashley Banjo SUS-140926-123412001
Ashley Banjo SUS-140926-123412001

Sainsbury’s Horsham is calling for schools in the Horsham area to cook up a treat as part of the Active Kids Superstar Cooks competition for the chance to win £10,000 of new kitchen equipment and an exclusive dance lesson with competition judge Ashley Banjo of Diversity.

Active Kids Superstar Cooks challenges pupils to create the ultimate, great tasting, healthy meal in the classroom, which will be judged by a panel of experts and Ashley Banjo, who will be comparing how the entries fare against the healthy eating guidelines set out in the Superstar Cooks competition toolkit (available at

The competition has been created for children of all ages and abilities, with entries in two age categories 5 to 11 and 11 to 16 year olds. One winning school will be selected in each of the two age groups.

Derek Boarer, Store Manager said: “Basic food knowledge and cooking skills are things we all need to lead healthy, balanced lives but as a nation we are learning these skills too late in life.

“The popularity of TV shows such as Junior MasterChef and the Great British Bake Off mean that children have become more interested in cooking. The Active Kids Superstars Cooks competition will help build on this at school level, which is why we have joined forces with Diversity star Ashley Banjo, who embodies the benefits of eating well and being active. Ashley will help teachers to inspire kids to plan, prepare and cook great tasting balanced meals at school, giving them the skills they need to enjoy good food at home throughout their lives.”

Ashley Banjo, Diversity star and Active Kids Superstar Cooks judge, concluded: “Eating well and being active has always been a really important part of my life. I developed a love of good food when I was young as I quickly discovered that it made me a better dancer. I’ve teamed up with Active Kids Superstar Cooks because I’m passionate about inspiring kids to learn how to cook basic recipes that will help them as adults. They might not grow up to be professional dancers or athletes, but all young people need to understand that eating well will help them feel good and give them the energy to lead full and active lives, now and in the future.”

For the first time, practical cookery becomes compulsory for children up to Year 9 in England and Sainsbury’s are inspiring a new generation of children to eat well through its Active Kids scheme. This follows new research released by Sainsbury’s that tells us as a nation, our Cooking Age is falling short of our real age, and we are reaching it much later than we should.

Based on extensive research amongst 3,000 people aged 14 to 50, the national Cooking Age is a first of its kind classification. Developed in collaboration with the British Nutrition Foundation, much like a person’s Reading Age, it benchmarks food knowledge and cooking skills against suggested Core Competences and the National Curriculum.

The findings suggest that the new cooking and nutrition aspects of the National Curriculum will provide the UK with a vital opportunity to equip young people with the skills they need to prepare and enjoy good food. To help teachers deliver these new lessons at classroom level.

Supported by free curriculum-linked lesson plans and recipe ideas, and fronted by Diversity founder and Got To Dance judge, Ashley Banjo, Sainsbury’s Active Kids Superstar Cooks will get children aged five to 16 cooking in the kitchen, helping to improve the Cooking Age of the next generation.

The competition runs until 24th November. For more information visit:

Report and picture contributed by Sainsbury’s Horsham.