The Inaugural Year of The JOFF ‘Big Rig’ Mobile Kitchen

The Inaugural Year Of The JOFF ‘Big Rig’ Mobile Kitchen

Mon 26 Dec 2011

Story by Scott Bottemer & Emily Ventura

Food Foundation ‘Big Rig’ Mobile Kitchen Takes On California

The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation ‘Big Rig’ Mobile Kitchen has had an extremely busy and successful year since launching at TED 2011 back in March. In the first 6 months, over 990 people have been taught to cook and below are the preliminary results from studies being carried out to evaluate the ‘Big Rig’ programs impact on youth in South Los Angeles.

Having partnered with the California Endowment, the Mobile Kitchens’ inaugural year started out in South
Central Los Angeles at the Challengers Boys and Girls Club. The children truly enjoyed learning about healthy
cooking and the hands-on lessons they participated in were very much an eye-opener.

The next stop, Long Beach, was met with similar enthusiasm. Participants ranging in age from 10 to 70 completed the 5-week course and groups participating included a wide variety of people from Spanish
speaking only, hearing impaired, Khmer (Cambodian) speaking only, groups from local Boys and Girls Clubs,
the Camp Fire Girls and the New City Schools system!

The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation ‘Big Rig’ Mobile Kitchen has also partnered with First 5 LA’s Best Start, a
place-based, community-driven effort of First 5 LA that focuses on investing in, strengthening and providing
resources throughout 14 communities across the county. With First 5 LA and the California Endowment, the Food Foundation ‘Big Rig’ Mobile Teaching Kitchen will continue fight obesity rates by teaching kids life-changing cooking skills and providing more opportunities for both youth and adults to learn more about
making healthy food choices.

Together, the ‘Big Rig’ Mobile Kitchen, First 5 LA and the California Endowment have already cosponsored
community events featuring food demonstrations for parents on healthy cooking and resources on healthy
eating and sourcing local food.

The next stop for the ‘Big Rig’ Mobile Kitchen is Santa Ana, CA and there is already much excitement and
anticipation for its arrival!

Preliminary South LA Results

The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation has partnered with the Childhood Obesity Research Center at the University of Southern California (USC) to conduct a pilot study to evaluate the programs offered for youth on the truck.

Youth ages 8 to 17 from the Challengers Boys and Girls Club in South LA who participated in the 5 week series of classes were eligible for the study, and youth from the Watts-Willowbrook Boys and Girls Club participated as a control group. In total, 151 youth participated in the study.

Before and after the 5 week program and also at 12 weeks following the start of the program, youth were measured for self-efficacy for cooking skills, dietary habits, and body mass index. While analysis of the South LA results is still underway, the preliminary results show that as compared to the control group, the youth who received the 5 week program had a significant increase in self-efficacy for cooking skills.

As an example, they were more likely to report that that they were able to help shop for the food in their
house, help cook at home, use a sharp knife, and prepare fruits and vegetables. In addition, participating youth showed a decrease in the frequency of eating meals in the car and the boys who participated in the
classes had a significant increase in the frequency that they helped make dinner.

Additional results are on the way, as well as the results from wave 2 of the study, which is currently being conducted in Long Beach. We look forward to sharing them with you!

About the authors: Scott Bottemer, Operations Manager for the JOFF ‘Big Rig’ Mobile Teaching Kitchen. Emily Ventura, PhD, MPH


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