College on menu for Jamie student

Joseph Lee

A mother-of-two who hit the headlines for feeding her children kebabs on the floor in Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food TV show has begun a college catering course.

Natasha Whiteman, 22, was so inspired by the celebrity chef's "pass it on" scheme, intended to transform the eating habits of people in Rotherham, that she took her first class towards earning an NVQ at the town's FE college last Friday.

Despite leaving school with no qualifications, Natasha was among the quickest to learn from the TV chef, who planned to spread cooking skills by asking each person to pass on their new recipes.

Now she hopes that the course at Rotherham College can be the first step towards a career in catering, and eventually running a restaurant of her own.

She said: "I want my own restaurant, just a little place, nothing posh or fancy. That's my dream. Then I can pass on everything I've learnt to other people. And invite Jamie over for dinner!"

After her first class, Natasha praised the atmosphere at college and the approach of her tutor.

She said: "I wasn't interested in school. At the time, it was boring to me, I didn't bother.

"But this is not like being at school. They talk to you like an adult; the teacher talks to everyone the same and has a laugh.

"It makes you feel relaxed, so everyone gets on with everybody. I'm not just a mum anymore, I get to go to college and do something."

Photograph: Channel 4.

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Joseph Lee

Joseph Lee is an award-winning freelance education journalist 

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