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Creating community through food

Updated: Jul 4


In the second of our series meeting GCDA's Cookery Club tutors we speak with Radia, who's been part of the team for nearly a decade.


Radia, who’s originally from Algeria, is one of GCDA’s longest serving Cookery Club tutors and is currently running three Cookery Clubs a week. She attended a Cookery Club herself back in 2014 and loved it so much that she started volunteering as a helper. When she discovered that she could train as a facilitator, she jumped at the chance - and before long she was putting on her first session for GCDA at Lewisham Library.



Although she originally trained as a vet at university in Algeria, by the time she came to the UK, Radia had settled into life as a wife and mother. She’s always cooked for her family, and enjoys preparing different types of food. She says that she loves finding little ways of sharing her own tips and tricks during the sessions where she works with participants to co-create a meal together.



“Obviously we’re there to support people to eat healthier diets and there are certain messages we need to get across. However, I also think it’s important to bring your personality to the table. All six cookery club tutors have different culinary backgrounds and participants love learning about different cuisines.  


My comfort food is the food of North Africa, and as I’ve also spent a lot of time in France (and given the French influence in Algeria), I know quite a bit about French cuisine too. I show people how to use spices like cumin and coriander and how to create pastes with lots of flavour.”




Radia says that as well as exploring new healthier eating habits and picking up some culinary tricks of the trade, one of the best takeaways for people attending the Cookery Clubs is that they make friends.


“My current participants are from a whole range of backgrounds and cultures. Many people come on their own and feel a bit isolated, but over the five weeks they’re together, people talk about all sorts of things, swap numbers and make friends. The Cookery Clubs help break down cultural barriers and I treat everyone the same.


When we sit down around the table at the end of the session and ‘break bread together’, I want everyone to feel at home. It’s just like being part of one big family, and that’s the way it should be.”


What our learners say:

"Radia was a pleasure to work with. She is very informal with knowledge of different types of ingredients and ideas about how to incorporate different foods together."


If you're interested in learning more about GCDA's 'A Taste of Health' Cookery Clubs please get in touch on 0208 269 4886 or contact Fay Livingstone by email fayl@gcda.org.uk

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