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Lights, camera, action as Community Masterchef cooks up a storm! thumbnail

Delicious aromas of beef lasagne and quesadillas were emanating from the Bulwark Community Centre kitchen, signalling the start of filming for Monmouthshire Housing’s Community MasterChef Summer cooking course, funded by the Government’s Multiply initiative.

The pre-recorded courses recreate 6 favourite ‘fakeout’ family meals on a budget, repurposing the same ingredients or leftovers to make healthy affordable meals for a whole week.  


Taking on the role of Community MasterChef’s Head Chef was Pavinee Tarushcio, from Abergavenny’s Pav’s kitchen and daughter of retired legendary local chef Franco Tarushcio.  


Pavinee Tarushcio, Pav’s Kitchen said: 


The reason I decided to accept this important & challenging project of cooking on a budget of £25 for a family (2 adults & 2 chicken, including 5 meals & 1 Fakeaway) was because I wanted to help others help themselves.  To be able to give people the knowledge and basic skills to cook delicious homemade meals, that won’t eat into your money & take up all your time. 

As a single mother myself, saving money is always a necessity but feeding your family well, is super important to me too. 

The Fakeaway was a great idea to help you cut costs on those expensive, unhealthy meals, drenched in msg, hidden fats & sugars. It’s important we learn that what we eat has a massive impact on your health, both physically and mentally.

As well as guiding tenants through each mouth-watering recipe, a panel of expert judges pop up in each video to talk about hot topics such as nutrition tips, food poverty, food sustainability, seasonal food, and food inclusivity. 


The judges panel include Franco Tarushcio, Sean Hills from The Walnut Tree; BBC Masterchef finalist and Catch 22 proprietor David Chamberlain. 


Charlotte Lamprey, MHA tenant and Financial Wellbeing Coach was instrumental in making Community Masterchef happen: 

As both a tenant and financial and wellbeing coach, I witness on a daily basis the struggles endured by many families to balance financial stability and provide healthy nutritious meals for the family, often on a shoestring budget. 


Community MasterChef doesn’t only equip you with the skills and techniques needed, but also educates you so you can make more informed food choices that are both healthier for your wellbeing and pocket.  


A massive thank you must also go out to the talented judges, who were passionate about getting involved; sharing their knowledge and abundance of talent, with the Monmouthshire community.

To spice things up, participants with an appetite for more than just delicious meals have an opportunity to win several prizes throughout the duration of the course.  To win, it all boils down to those who reduce the cost of ingredients (even more) by using the courses suggested resources. Whether scanning shelves for existing ingredients, exploring eco-friendly community fridges to source foods or gathering organic goods from community gardens. The participants who cook up an even savvier storm, will be in with a chance of WINNING! 


MHA secured a total of 18 months funding to offer tailored adult numeracy programs over the eighteen months, funded by the Government’s Multiply initiative, aiming to improve adults’ numeracy skills.  Helping them to understand and use maths in daily life, home, and work, whether that be improving household finances, helping children with homework, or improving numeracy skills specific to their line of work. 


MHA’s Financial and Wellbeing professionals provide financial coaching and mentoring to tenants.  The team adopt a holistic approach, taking into account all things money related from budgeting and employability to energy use and utility bills; ensuring tenants are accessing any grants or benefits they might be entitled too. 


The videos will be run one a week throughout the school holidays and are only open to Monmouthshire families. Participants will be required to ‘showcase’ their creations on a digital platform. Any Monmouthshire families interested in taking part in the course should keep an eye on MHA’s website and social media channels for details of how to sign up.


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Monmouthshire Housing Association Limited is registered in England & Wales and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as an Industrial and Provident Society with charitable rules Registration No 30087R, and is registered with the Welsh Government as a Registered Social Landlord Registration No L144. Registered Office: Nant-Y-Pia House, Mamhilad Technology Park, Mamhilad, Pontypool, Monmouthshire, NP4 0JJ.
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