Celebrity chefs are flocking to Ipswich, west of Brisbane, for the opening of Jamie Oliver’s first Australian Ministry of Food.


The cooking school will offer free lessons, healthy eating education and food shopping tips.

Celebrity MasterChef contestant and Queensland Premier Anna Bligh will head back into the kitchen for the community program’s launch at Ipswich, west of Brisbane, on Thursday.

She will be joined by Junior MasterChef champion Isabella Bliss and her contestant twin sister Sofia.

English-born, Australian-raised TV chef Ben O’Donoghue, who worked alongside Oliver before he was famous, will be the

ambassador for the program.

“I’ve known Jamie since we worked together at the River Cafe in the UK and he’s always been a wonderfully generous bloke, as evidenced with these incredible initiatives and, like me, extremely passionate about celebrating great food,” Mr O’Donoghue told the

Queensland Times.

“Any way to help people get back to the basics in the kitchen, shop for fresh food and understand how it can actually save your household money is something we need to embrace and promote.

“Jamie’s Ministry of Food echoes my own attitudes inspiring a passion for good, fresh food and simple home cooking can really change people’s lives.”

He said more than than 1000 people have already signed up for the program.

The classes will cater for 10 to 12 people at a time, with up to six classes per day, running 48 weeks per year.

The program aims to boost Australians’ back-to-basics cooking skills and help reduce the obesity and diabetes crisis.

Participants will undergo a 10-week cooking course.

The food education program began in 2009 in the town of Rotherham in the UK.

The Ipswich centre has been built as a traditional Queenslander from recycled and environmentally friendly materials.