Hero Images
Our Journey
Past Present and Future

Where it all began

Focus on Food started in 1998 as the main project of The Design Dimension Educational Trust – a charity co-founded by Roger Standen and Ken Baynes in 1988 and located in the heritage site of Dean Clough Mills. Spearheaded by Anita Cormac OBE in collaboration with the RSA, Focus on Food was a campaign to lobby for better food teaching in schools at a time when food education, and the nation’s health, was starting to decline rapidly.

Anita and her team developed the concept of Cooking Buses; state-of-the-art travelling kitchen classrooms that visit schools to train teachers and teach children essential cooking skills.

Where we are today

Today Focus on Food is led by Jane Sixsmith, and owned and managed by the Dean Clough Foundation, a registered charity that supports people to develop skills for healthier futures.

As it stands in 2013:

  • We've taught 125,000 children to cook
  • We train 2,500 cooking teachers and leaders every year
  • We're a founding member of the successful Food for Life Partnership
  • We're working with more partners then ever before to make a difference in the communities that need us most

Plus we are in an exciting time when the importance of cooking is in the spotlight more and more. Proposed curriculum reforms recommend that children aged between 7-14 will have compulsory cooking lessons from September 2014 and the nation is realising that teaching people to cook is a crucial weapon in tackling obesity and related illnesses.

Where we're going

Capturing children’s interest in cooking at an early age is crucial. So we’ll be playing an even bigger role in training and supporting schools to deliver inspiring and e!ective cooking lessons to their pupils.

A stronger focus on cooking in schools is a hugely positive step, but we will also continue to work with individuals, groups and families in deprived communities to make a stronger impact on the whole population.

As part of this, we’re working more closely with our chefs at The Cooking School at Dean Clough to inspire a lifelong passion for cooking and encourage careers in cooking.