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Battle to host Jamie Oliver's kitchen begins

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Canberra will have at least two bids in to host Jamie Oliver’s latest Ministry of Food initiative.

With Wednesday's deadline looming, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Food confirmed the first applications were submitted over the weekend to host the Naked Chef’s pop-up kitchen in the capital.

While the spokesperson wouldn't say who had lodged the bids, Merici College and Belconnen Markets have announced they will be apply.

The Naked Chef’s pop-up kitchen aims to be a community affair that teaches the most inexperienced of cooks how to prepare a nutritious meal from scratch.

Merici College in Braddon said the program tied in with the school's work to promote healthy lifestyles.

Hospitality manager Tooki Capezio said the pop-up kitchen “would be a great opportunity for the surrounding community to come to the school and use our kitchen facilities and check-out our gardens.”


“It’s very important for our students to feel they are part of a bigger community,” she said.

Another bid for the location will be launched by Belconnen Market, whose management has commented on the “great support already shown by the Canberra community”.

Markets director Maria Efkarpidis said locating the pop-up kitchen at a fresh food market went hand-in-hand  with the market’s ambitions.

“The ethos of the Belconnen market is to supply fresh produce to all of our community and to allow people to have as much access to fresh food as possible,” she said.

Ms Efkarpidis said the Belconnen area hosted some of the Canberra’s lowest socio-economic suburbs and the Ministry of Food program would benefit the community.

“We need to drive these health issues because Belconnen is one of the areas where Canberrans are facing obesity issues. This is just one step towards helping people in need and bringing people together,” she said.

The markets launched a petition urging all Canberra to get behind their efforts to bring the program to the capital.

A spokesman from said seven petitions have been launched in relation to the pop-up kitchen from communities in Lismore, Bathurst, Warwick, Wynnum, Noarlunga and the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria.

While Ms Efkarpidis hoped her bid for the pop-up kitchen would be successful, she said the program would benefit all the Canberra community.

“There’s a really strong community spirit in Canberra. Sydney and Melbourne tend to get all the big things but Canberra is at a really important stage. The city is coming of age and starting to show itself,” she said.

“People in Canberra want this and they are already starting to come together because of it. This is just one step towards helping people in need and bringing people together.”

The winning entrant will host the kitchen for 12 months and must demonstrate the need for the program in their community and provide a suitable location.

Potential Canberra hosts have until March 5 to make their formal application online.