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Digital Subscriptions > delicious. Magazine > Jan-18 > Meet the woman who’s transforming lives through food

Meet the woman who’s transforming lives through food

Is it possible to overcome the allure of the cheap ready meal or trashy takeaway? Through Bags of Taste, her social enterprise, Alicia Weston is proving that, with a healthy portion of motivation, you can get people to eat better for less, long term. Felicity Cloake finds out how


Alicia Weston stands in a church hall in east London encouraging her audience, a group ranging from a fidgety guy with dreads to a softly spoken elderly Irish woman, to go out and steal. “Bay leaves are everywhere! Just nick them!” Her right-hand woman Linda, stirring a pot of peanut and vegetable stew (see p63), nods: “It’s foraging, isn’t it?”

This is a cookery class with a difference. Alicia, a former investment banker, set up the Bags of Taste project, which is funded from grants and donations, because she believes that conventional courses weren’t changing people’s eating patterns long-term: “People go to them, enjoy them, then fall back into old habits.”

Alicia says a lack of knowledge is not the main barrier to people cooking at home. “The assumption is that people don’t have cooking skills. I’ve taught over a thousand people, and I can tell you that’s rubbish. Everyone can scramble an egg, but people just aren’t doing it.”

”Eight per cent of UK adults didn’t have enough money for food at some point in 2016”


Instead, Alicia’s classes focus on motivation – giving people a reason to get into the kitchen, rather than relying on processed foods and pricey but convenient (and, often, unhealthy) takeaways. The recipes Alicia teaches come from all over the globe and are the sorts of dishes people actually want to cook and eat.

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About delicious. Magazine

Stay cosy this winter with the January issue of delicious. magazine. Gill Meller brings seasonal comfort, Thane Prince transforms leftovers and José Pizarro cooks a warming menu from Catalonia. Thomasina Miers, Bill Granger and Matt Tebbutt share their favourite family recipes and Phil Vickery shows that healthy food can be tasty too. Plus we have the best Cornish pasty, our guide to the perfect cooked breakfast and this month's must-cook pudding – sticky, caramel chocolate sponge. And don't miss our brilliant pull-out Winter Vegetarian collection.